To visit the Official Website (external), click here:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Altcatholicah Article on the Mantilla

Altcatholicah has published an article on the mantilla

Click here! 

Article text below:
  On any given Sunday at Our Lady of Suburbia, one is likely to see women and girls dressed in halter-necks, strapless dresses, skinny jeans, and mini-skirts. Depending on the weather, one might also find flip-flops or ugg boots. In our parish, the extraordinary ministers sometimes choose to hand out communion in their sneakers and matching velour tracksuits. One might even see the occasional fanny-pack.
And at the same time, every once in a while, one is likely to see a woman in the congregation with a veiled head. It might be a silk scarf. More often than not it’s a beautiful lace mantilla – black if she’s married and ivory if she’s single.
Wearing a mantilla to Mass is an oddity now, but for nearly 2000 years all Catholic women veiled their heads in church as a sign of devotion and respect. In the West, this practice was largely abandoned only in the 1960s. While other nations (Korea and the Philippines, for example) have continued this tradition, we’ve swapped the mantilla for the proverbial fanny-pack.
Fortunately, however, the mantilla is making a comeback. Increasing numbers of young Catholic women (myself included) are choosing to ditch the skinny jeans and veil at Mass.
Dressing well for Mass is an external manifestation of the belief that what we are doing is important: it says that we care. It shows the respect we have for the other members of our parish. More importantly, however, it is also a sign of our respect for God in the Blessed Sacrament.
The same reasoning applies to the mantilla.
It isn’t mandatory for us to veil at Mass. But we can if we want to. This applies to the ordinary form Mass as much as it does to the extraordinary form. And if we truly believe that Christ is actually present before us in the Eucharist, then why wouldn’t we?
External acts can orient as well as express our inner thoughts and disposition. This is why our Mass (in both forms) is so rich in ritual and posture. These externals help keep our minds where they should be -- on the Mass and on Our Lord in the Eucharist. 
Ask yourself, why it is that brides still wear veils on their wedding day? One reason is that the veil indicates the solemnity of the occasion. It is a reminder that -- for her -- this day is unlike any other. It is also a physical sign of the gift of self that she intends to make through the Sacrament of Marriage. Both of these reasons (whether conscious or not) transform the bride’s veiling from being purely about the aesthetics into something else. Although she is the center of attention, her choice of garment, color, and veil sends a message to those around her: “when you look at me and see my veil, remember that I am here to participate in something greater and bigger than myself.”
Some women choose to wear a mantilla for the same reasons. The mantilla is a reminder that this place and moment in time is unlike any other and should be observed as such. It is also a sign of the spiritual gift of self that the woman intends to make to Our Lord during the Mass and as she prays before the tabernacle.
Others veil in imitation of the Blessed Virgin. They seek to follow her example of humility, modesty and purity -- as well as the Jewish custom of covering one’s head -- when they are near our Lord in the Tabernacle.
 Others still choose to veil because they want to conform to St. Paul’s words in Corinthians when he instructs women to cover their heads when praying:
. . . for a woman to pray or prophesy with her head uncovered shows disrespect for her head; it is exactly the same as if she had her hair shaved off. Indeed, if a woman does go without a veil, she should have her hair cut off too; but if it is a shameful thing for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, then she should wear a veil. (1 Corinthians 11: 5-6).
I veil at Mass because it matters to me that I am before God. I veil as an external manifestation of my belief that Christ is really present in the Eucharist. I veil because it helps me to be more reverent. I veil as an act of humility before God. I veil because I believe. I veil because I care.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Tradition behind Mantillas/Chapel Veils

From The Catholic Company: 
              "Since the early days of Christianity, wearing chapel veils has been a common practice among faithful women. Chapel veils, also commonly called mantillas, which comes from the word manta, meaning cape, are typically circular or triangular shaped pieces of black or white lace that are draped over a woman’s head when attending Mass, or in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Traditionally, the black veils were worn by married or widowed women, while the white veils were worn by young girls, or unmarried women.
             Throughout the centuries, the use of the mantilla by women has had many purposes.  The wearing of the Mantilla is an act of veiling a woman's physical beauty, so that the beauty of God may be glorified instead. It is also a way of emulating, Mary, our mother, who is the archetype of purity and humility.   Moreover, the mantilla, or chapel veil, signifies the role of women as a life-bearing vessel.   The chalice holding the blood of Christ is veiled until the Preparation of the Gifts, and the tabernacle veiled between Masses. Both of these vessels hold the Eucharist – the very life of Christ. In a similar fashion, woman was endowed with the gift of bearing human life. 
Before the Second Vatican Council, the wearing of chapel veils was required for a woman when attending Mass, as a symbol of her modesty and humility before God.  Although this practice is no longer required, it is still very much supported and encouraged by the Church as a sign of reverence and piety while in the presence of God. "

Catholic Phoenix: For Better or Worse: Mantillas are Making a Quiet Comeback

"Poised to grab the one year-old at any moment, whose favorite thing to do is pushing the power strip button while Mommy is on the computer, I had been watching the first few minutes of Auxiliary Bishop Nevares’ ordination Mass when the processional hymn was abruptly interrupted by the jarring sound of an imaginary needle being dragged across this virtual recording. I saw heads veiled in black lace!
I just couldn’t believe my eyes. Growing up in the diocese of Phoenix, I never thought I would see the day when chapel veils would resurface, especially during a liturgical procession. Not that long ago it was more common to see graceful bare feet under flowing skirts dancing up the center aisle.
Many of the women in the Nevares procession looked old enough to have known what it was like back when all Catholic females wore the mantilla. I recognized one of these ladies–a thirty year family friend–and I have never seen her head covered except when it was full of curlers. Nope, I didn’t see any curlers.
Mulieres autem, capite cooperto et modeste vestitae, maxime cum ad mensam Dominicam accedunt: “…that when women approach the table of the Lord, it is best that they do so modestly clad and with covered heads.” This is what Canon 1262 in the old 1917 Code of Canon Law says, and it was at least in theory binding until 1983.
But the 1969 newspaper clipping to the left suggests a decline in the mantilla’s popularity was already underway at that time; the custom was changing even if the law hadn’t yet (he wouldn’t have had to “insist” anything unless there had been pressure to the contrary.) The new Code of Canon Law revised in 1983 no longer has any statement about head covering in it. My mother and grandmother were both pretty conservative Catholics, but I don’t ever remember either of them wearing the lace.  Not even a fancy hat on Easter.
Even though we don’t have to wear the mantilla anymore, I’ve noticed that some women want to. Depending upon which parish you are at, you may see one or several ladies graced in lace at a regular Sunday morning mass. The ladies I have seen are mostly under forty. I bet some of you reading this post are guilty of being veil-curious, and maybe even own one, buried in the back of your sock drawer.
Can it be that more women are unleashing their inner bride and donning the mantilla at mass?
After the “Extraordinary Form”—the 1962 Latin Mass, “EF” for short–started being said at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church here in Phoenix in June of 2004, some parishioners that I know of, including my family, were very curious about it.  (This could be happening all over the world.) For years I resisted the mantilla even when attending the EF–maybe a hat, if anything. But eventually, about a year ago, I decided to “pin one on”—and I have not stopped wearing it since, no matter whether I’m at the old mass or the ordinary mass.
Summorum Pontificum, effective on September 14, 2007, has made the old Latin Mass more widely available to Catholics, removing the requirement of the Bishop’s explicit permission. In his statements about this document, Pope Benedict spoke about the “mutual enrichment” that he hoped would follow from a broader re-introduction of the old Mass and its culture to the mainstream of the Church’s life. The number of EF masses in this country has increased by approximately 300% in 21 years. Will the growing number of Catholic women and girls exposed to this older form of worship and the old customs around it, even occasionally, start sporting the veil at all forms of the Catholic mass in the next 20 years?
I’d say it’s a lot more likely than a renaissance in barefoot liturgical dance."