Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apparel --- again!

I recently read an article about women who wear "veils" at Mass and chapel.

This article neglected to explain that there is no longer a rule stating that women must wear a head covering at Mass, or before the Blessed Sacrament.

Apparently many younger women are waxing poetic over these things -- as if the outward sign were the important thing.

And, that's what bothers me about these folks who are too young to remember when girls HAD to have their heads covered.

That mostly meant you wore a hat to Mass.

But, there would be times when you had to duck into the chapel, or into the church for Confession, etc., during a weekday.

So, you had to have your obligatory little "chapel veil" -- essentially a doily, inside a plastic case with with a snap closure. There were fancier cases, of course, but I personally couldn't ever afford those, so it was only the see-through plastic with the snap for me.

Jackie Kennedy started wearing the longer veil, --- mantilla --- after the First Family's return to the U.S.from their trip to Spain. Jack and Jackie both had very large heads. Jack was the first president to go hatless.

Before Jackie brought that thing to the U.S., nobody had ever heard of it --- outside of Spain.

In 1963, St. John the Baptist High School and Church were in the same building as our Notre Dame teaching nuns' convent. The church was downstairs. The high school was upstairs. The convent was both, I think. One of our teaching nuns --- our English teacher, actually --- got permission to take a desk into the convent from the school. She asked us (all-female) students to please help her move it.

It was pretty solid hardwood, with drawers, and really heavy. It took a lot of girls to move the thing. Maybe eight of us. We had to take it through the church to get to the convent.

We got a grip on the thing, and lifted it.

Just as we were about to enter the church, I thought, "Uh oh!!"

We have nothing on our heads, but then I figured, well, maybe Sr. won't worry about it this time. Should I keep my mouth shut, and risk letting all of us commit a venial sin, or should I squeal, and maybe the others would be mad at me.

Just then, Sr. turned around and said, "Girls --- you have nothing on your heads! Where are your chapel veils?"

Our chapel veils were in our purses, which were in the school, which was on the second floor. Sr. got out a little pack of Kleenex, and said we should "wear" those, just for the time being, but we had no bobby pins to make them stay on (as we would normally have in our see-through plastic envelopes, with the chapel veil), so they didn't stay on while we moved the desk. They just kind of floated away.

Sr. led the way, but she did not look back anymore.

An author for Catholic Herald of the U.K., writes "But, by and large, [mantillas --- or is it chapel veils??] transformed most women. You acquired instant mystique by wearing them"

Well, that's what she thinks.

The next few sentences of this paragraph are actually somewhat obscene. Maybe some folks need a little reminder of why we GO TO MASS!?

No, not just because we have to --- although we do have to.

We're not going to Mass for ourselves.

It's called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Those words have meaning. You're not supposed to be sitting at Mass thinking of how saucy you look.


  1. Indeed.

    A few women in the local parish often wear veils at Mass: but the vast majority do not. I think apparel is important: there are things I will not wear during Mass, like a T-shirt or shorts.

    But I also remember the 'good old days' when Catholics and Protestants alike seemed convinced that particular dress codes must be rigidly maintained. I do not miss "the good old days." :)

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  2. I'm still kind of tickled every time I get to go to Mass with my head uncovered. The novelty still has not worn off!

    That's why I can't understand these young people who want to wear those huge things. It was annoying enough to have that little doily with me everywhere. And, bobby pins to keep it on.

    (I couldn't figure out how to add this to my original reply. That's why it is showing up here. Probably not the proper way?)


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