Why are the statues and crucifix covered in Catholic churches during Lent?

“According to Greg Dues in Catholic Customs and Traditions, it began around 900, where in some places a purple cloth (symbol of sadness and mourning) was hung between the people and the altar from the beginning of Lent. It symbolized the exclusion of sinners from the altar (during their period of penitence) and hid the glory represented by the images of the saints. By the 1600s the practice of veiling statues and crucifixes from Passion Sunday (what the Fifth Sunday of Lent was then called) marked the entry into the solemn preparation for the sacred Triduum,” wrote Colin Donovan, EWTN’s vice president for theology, at EWTN.com.

From the Fifth Sunday of Lent on, “The practice of covering crosses and images in the church may be observed, if the episcopal conference decides,” notes the Roman Missal. “The crosses are to be covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord’s passion on Good Friday. Images are to remain covered until the beginning of the Easter vigil.”

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