Ah, my beloved lifelong parish, St. Anthony’s on Milwaukee’s near southside that I’ve written about many times.
At the 10:00 Sunday Mass that I’ve ushered for since 1970 (yes, 1970) there’s usually about a handful or two of them each week. Some wear black, others white. Old. Middle-aged. Young. Even children.
They stand out, in a very positive way.
On this Sunday today’s read is from Emma Cieslik, an emerging museum professional based in Washington, D.C. Here’s an excerpt:
A minority of Catholic young people have been looking to the past for inspiration, adopting older and more traditional practices. Some are drawn to the Latin Mass. Others wear scapulars, or devotional necklaces with religious symbols. Some young Catholic women have taken to wearing chapel veils, or head coverings worn during Mass, that reinforce distinct gender norms and roles much at odds with broader American culture.
The Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, was a series of meetings that modernized facets of the Catholic Church. It removed the requirement for women to wear veils during the Latin Mass. Afterwards, the practice of women wearing chapel veils largely died out in the late 1960s and 1970s. While some women never stopped veiling post-Vatican II, often because their families or their congregations continued the practice, many chose to leave veils behind. However, in the last decade, a minority of Catholic women, particularly young millennial Americans, have chosen to voluntarily cover their heads.
As I interviewed women who have readopted the veil, it was clear that many of them see veiling as an appeal to sexual modesty and purity, and as a physical reminder to remain pure.