I have been teaching RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) this year for the first time in a few years. It doesn’t take long for things to change, that’s for sure.
This year’s group was small, and seemed pretty young, on average. But maybe it’s my relative viewpoint.
As the year progressed, and trust was gained, something that came up that surprised me, and that was a discussion of dress for Mass, and more specifically, veiling.
I’ve heard the discussion on veiling before from young Catholic women I know. I have to giggle a bit because here I am…the middle-aged woman, who never wore a veil to a Mass other than the one in which she was married…hearing from young women who are interested in veiling.
My chapel parish is very casual. Men who wear neck-ties to Mass are assumed to be strangers who are there for a baptism, and who we will never see again. In all the years I’ve attended Mass here, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone wearing a veil during a regular Mass. And I’m not sure we’ve ever had a Catholic sister in habit at Mass, either.
I know for a fact that I’ve never discussed veiling at RCIA. Never.
The young women who have spoken to me about this are products of this parish. I can only think that the Holy Spirit is at work. Given that two of the women I am speaking with are very new to the practice of Catholicism, I know they have not likely read other bloggers speaking on the subject. If they went to neighbouring parishes, they wouldn’t see veils there, either. There is no other explanation that suits.
I have been raised entirely in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. I have no experience with veiling. I didn’t even wear one for my First Communion! I have been thinking about it myself anyway. Being at the Sacred Music Colloquium last summer, where nearly all the women veiled or otherwise covered their hair, I saw the dignity the practice can carry with it. My problem is that I am fairly active in the chapel and don’t need to draw any attention to myself. I am still deciding. Or was.
Earlier this week I asked a good friend, slightly older than I and from a different part of the country, if she veiled for Mass. I know she didn’t when we lived near each other. She says she does not…but her daughter does. I’m beginning to see a pattern here.
Then, even in her grief over having just lost her father, she challenged me. We are in a race to see who produces and wears a veil to Mass first. She always was good for that sort of thing.
One of the RCIA gals has started wearing a scarf wrapping her hair. One of my friends almost always has her hair wrapped in some fashion. And the elderly lady over by the door wears a hat.
I guess it’s not as unusual as I thought.
I don’t expect I’ll be wearing a veil for Easter this year…but maybe Pentecost!