Thursday, 6 March 2008

Passiontide Veiling.

The High Altar after being veiled.

And before.

The Altar temporarily pulled forward so i can get the veil up. Note that when I painted the cream box that the reredos stands on I did not paint the middle, the better to discourage modernists and other remnants of the nineteen sixties!

The Lady Chapel altar.

The Church after veiling.

The Lady Chapel.

Saint Agnes and her lamb.

The Sacred Heart altar. His hands unscrew to make veiling easier!

Saint Nicholas in his dark corner.

As I mentioned below, Passiontide veiling began early this year due to logistical reasons (I am going on a weekend conference and nobody else will go up the ladders before Sunday after Mass). It was peaceful in the Church this morning during morning prayer and not unenjoyable veiling the statues, although I dislike putting the curtain over the altar as I am not a friend of the ladders. To hang the curtain necessitates pulling the altar table away from the reredos and removing the six tall candlesticks and the cross from the altar. This gave me an interesting look at how the Church would be if we ever had Mass facing the people, which is not very pleasing to the eye or, I think, as pleasing to God as facing Him would be. But you all know my views on that, so I shall not bore you anymore. As every year, I realised that I far prefer the Church with the curtain up, it lends a pleasing austerity which it does not usually possess.

I have also used some left over purple velvet to add a Passiontide touch to the Lady chapel altar for the first time and am quite pleased with the result. This will be removed on Maundy Thursday before it is used as an altar of repose. You can see the burse standing on the altar which belongs to our Passiontide Low Mass set, in the traditional colours. I will try and photograph it next week. The Sacred Heart altar you can see stripped to it's bare essentials although as usual the only image left uncovered is the lamb at St Agnes' feet as someone once said how they felt sorry for it, so it has gone unfettered ever since!

I like and greatly value the veiling of the images during this season. It makes a dramatic impact as you walk into Church and makes you realise that something important is happening. The covers need some artistry in their arranging, however, with the shape of the statue discernable underneath, or it just looks as though a particularly gothic team of painters are about to start work. The transition from this to the darkened Church on Holy Saturday night then the sudden light and procession of tapers sround the Church lighting every candle and lamp as everyone rings the bell they have brought during the Gloria is striking, as well as being incarnational theological teaching at it's best, that is, symbolic and real and true concurrantly.