Why do Women cover their head during Mass?
by Rita Davidson
I didn’t grow up wearing headcoverings during Mass. No, I grew up during the happy Mass, of laughing and shaking hands.
Years later as my faith grew, I discovered what I had lost, things started falling into place. One of those things that fell into place, was headcoverings. It didn’t literally fall onto my head. But the time came when I was told by a religious, that we should wear headcoverings. This was just about the time I was writing my book, “Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue”.
Putting on one of these mantillas, was a real act of courage for me. I mean what does it mean to put something over your head, that is such a distraction during Mass? Having to adjust it as it slides down your head, or constant adjusting it and messing up our hair, is not fun. We had moved to a more conservative parish and I knew I was going to have to start wearing one too.
All I could think was that if this was going to be possible for me, I was going to have to practice. I mean why not wear this at home during the rosary? At least there, I could get used to the feel of it and how many times I had to adjust it before wearing it in public. So that is what we did. During the rosary we all put on our mantillas and prayed.
I sensed a certain quietness when wearing it; A certain stepping back. I couldn’t quite figure it out. But I still didn’t really understand the practice, so didn’t really understand the heart of the matter.
After sometime, in researching my book, “Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue’ I came across some quotes that stirred up my interest in this.
St. Paul in 1 Cor. 11:5-7 Paul tells us, “But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven. For if a woman be not covered, let her be shorn. But, if it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald, let her cover her head.”
Now that was interesting! Here St. Paul is telling us that it is a shame for a woman not to have her head covered and she instead should be bald! Now I wasn’t about to go bald, so here was my first good reason from the bible.
Then I found another quote “Therefore ought the woman to have a power (veil) over her head, because of the (presence) of angels (at Holy Mass) 1Cor. 11:10.
Now this really hit me where it mattered. St. Paul is telling us that we, women are covering our head because of the angels at Holy Mass. Now my ‘heart’ was interested! The presence of Holy angels at every single Mass opened up my vision to see that there is so much more to Mass then we can see. To know our Guardian Angels are beside us at all times, is one thing, but to know that Angels surround the Altar at Mass because Our Lord is there come down from heaven for us! How beautiful a thought, and what more reason would we want to cover our heads since this is the same Mass since St. Paul’s time, the Church is always the same, so this requirement was from God and now I understood why my heart felt more quieted when I covered my head. It is a beautiful thing to be obedient to God’s commands.
Since the return of the traditional Mass, more and more we see women covering. But, there are arguments about weather this is still necessary since the new 1983 Code of Canon Law. Much confusion has been passed around, and argued about. I discuss this in detail in my book, “Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue” which I highly recommend, but in general, the new Code of Canon law never removed this requirement from women. It was not changed, it was simply omitted, since only changes were listed!
So, rest assured your headcovering is the will of God and the will of the Church. Even if your up against much opposition, know that God is on your side. Pride rears it’s ugly head when submission is needed. Let us always pray for the humility to see the truth and to act upon it.
May God bless you as you seek His will in your life!
Do you wear a headcovering? Did you have questions about it? Share with me!
©Copyright 2013 Rita Davidson All Rights Reserved.
Quotes and ideas Adapted from “Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue” ©2003 Rita Davidson All Rights Reserved.
Rita is a Catholic wife and mother of seven children. Mark is her ever patient husband. She reverted back to the faith when her oldest was making her First Communion. By then, she had completed degrees in Hairdressing and Make up artistry. She went on to receive a degree in Natural Health and another degree in Art. At age 26, Rita suffered a minor stroke. With no lasting effects, this dramatically changed her outlook on life. In 1996, Rita began ‘Little Flowers Family Apostolates’ to reach out to other families with her new found faith, by creating unique Catholic books and resources.. In 1999, she wrote the bestselling, ‘Immodesty; Satan’s Virtue’. She was editor of ‘The Catholic Health Letter’ for 7 years. She has been a homeschooling mom for 20+ years, and has written for various magazines. She is honored that families have trusted her with their questions, needs and concerns over the years. She continues to write and reach out to Catholic families with her husband, Mark and their 4 boys through http://www.LittleFlowersFamilyPress.com
I cover my head at Mass. I converted in 2009 but my first contacts with the Church were before Vatican II. All women and girls covered their heads at Mass then. I thought that it was a very dignified, respectful look.
Yes, Susan, I too think it is a very dignified look. So many women are missing out on the beauty that veiling at Mass is for them and for God. God bless you, ~Rita/LFFA
It’s been about 30 years that I put aside my yellowing white veil I used in grade school because veils were no longer “it” but when I rejoined the Legion of Mary I started wearing it during the Mass and eventually made veils for first communicants and lectors in our parish. But mostly elderly ladies are “fond” of this religious item. There is something awesome when the head is “covered” when in Church. I hope the younger generation will learn to appreciate this biblical thing.
I enjoy your blogs and I have to say head coverings has been in my heart for a while. No one wears head coverings in our church. I did speak with it to a priest and he stated that it was neither wrong or right to wear one and I was free to do as I liked. I feel called especially during adoration before the blessed sacrament and I have done so once. I did not have a mantilla so I used a scarf. I have to be honest and say I never grew up with head coverings and would like to know why women do not wear them anymore and why does the church not put it into practice again? I am in the process of reading your book and haven’t got to that chapter yet. Thanks for all that you do for Christ and his kingdom. God Bless you!
Hello Melissa, and so glad you are making your way through my book! I am currently working on the 3rd Edition of Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue, so the book you have there will have to keep you for a time. 🙂 I hope to add more data in the new edition but I do go over more detail about headcoverings in there. Mantillas, scarves, even hats were all used in Church in the past. It was a struggle for me when I started too, but it is a really good way to get past our pride too. 🙂 God bless you and thank you for sharing! ~Rita/LFFA
Thank you for posting this. I started veiling a couple of years ago… I still feel a little odd sometimes, but I know it’s the right thing to do. God bless you! ♥
Bless you Susan! So glad this helps you know it’s the right thing to do. 🙂 God bless, Rita/LFFA
I grew up wearing the veil and always did until 7 years ago when 2 different priest told me I wore it for attention. Since I never really knew why I wore except it was being reverent in the presence of God, I thought that if they were correct and that was why I wore it that I would stop. I did stop wearing my veil then and when I did go to church for years after that I told God I put it on but only he could see it. I am so glad to know why all those years I wore it and when I did I could pray better without looking around at others. It was like it was just God and me. I may have to go out and buy a few new ones now and begin my old routine.
God Bless for this info.
Ima, so good to see you here! I am so sorry to hear about your story. How sad it is that priests can judge someone for wanting attention and to remove a headcovering when God asked for this so long ago. You have a generous heart to now be reconsidering this. I pray God will grant you grace to move forward with this and courage to start your old routine again. I highly recommend my good friend, Susan at Immaculate Heart Mantillas https://www.littleflowersfamilypress.com/Ihm for custom made, inexpensive veils. She will take good care of your needs and loves to make veils for ladies, knowing they will be covered at Mass again. Be sure to let her know we sent you, if you call her. She is not online, so we have helped her get a webpage up for those online. God bless you, Rita/LFFA Xo 🙂
Is there an email address for her? I want a looooong veil, but I wanted to ask what specific colors and how many inches length. (for rectangle or triangle.) Thanks for the link. I shared it on my page on Facebook.. It’s not my book but I thought it deserved a page and made one for it.. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Apostolate-of-Holy-Motherhood/109113339169857?fref=ts
Hello Susan, sorry there is no email for Susan at Immaculate Heart Mantillas. She is elderly and has been sewing veils and vestments for many years. But a phone call is easy and she would be happy to explain any questions you would have. She makes very extra long ones, as I loved those as well. My veils are far below my waist! The nice thing is she will make you the one you want, and it won’t cost as much as others who have more overhead. Thank you for sharing it on your facebook page! ( I loved that book years ago and just found my copy here!:) She will appreciate all the advertising she can get. Please do call her, and let her know you found her from me. She will so love to serve your needs! God bless you, ~Rita/LFFA
Twelve years ago when I felt called to wearing a veil, I first looked into and prayed about it for quite a while. I knew that if I made the decision to wear a headcovering it would be a permanent decision, not something I would do sometimes but not other times. I vowed that whenever I am in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I would have on my veil. It was very hard at first since we were in a parish where many times I was the only woman with a veil on. People asked me what I was doing that for, and sometimes made nasty comments behind my back, but I knew I was doing what was right in the eyes of God. It really helped that I have a wonderfully supportive husband. The first time I wore my veil to Mass, he looked at me and said I looked “Mary-like”. That was all I needed to hear. We have been assisting only at the Traditional Latin Mass now for the past 7 years and all the women wear headcoverings there so it is easy, but there still are funerals and weddings we must attend at other parishes where people look at me funny. I hope that I see the day when the Church is restored and all women go back to wearing a headcovering.
StMarthasGirl, your courage is inspiring! What a beautiful story to hear how supportive your husband is as well. I too long for the day when the Church is restored to her Glory. May God bless you and keep you on the narrow path. 🙂 ~Rita/LFFA
Hi Rita… A man from our church posted your article to his facebook page. It is always wonderful to see how God talks to us and he just told me again what he wanted me to do.
Just this past weekend, I felt compelled to wear the mantilla for the first time. As I sat in the pew, I kept thinking to myself, just go get one, put it on and come back. I wasn’t obedient as I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself but after being reminded once again today… I will definitely wear one next week. Thank you for sharing.
Marilyn, isn’t it wonderful how beautiful God weaves His truth out to the world, even through Facebook pages? God is so good to constantly, gently remind us and lead us back to the narrow road. I highly recommend Susan at Immaculate Heart Mantillas, if you need to find an inexpensive, custom made veil/mantilla. https://www.littleflowersfamilypress.com/ihm I have never bought veils for us anywhere else! God bless you, ~Rita/LFFA
Thank you Rita for this post. I have thoroughly enjoyed your book Immodesty:Satan’s Virtue. It has given me the courage to stay steadfast in my modest dress and also to instill modesty in my children(girls and boys) .
Thank you for inspiring me to wear my head covering not only at Mass, but during our family rosary. Hmm, maybe our children will be more attentive during prayers.
May God bless you and continue to give you courage as you fullfill His will.
Bless you Melanie for your steadfastness in staying the course with modesty. It will not always be easy, but God will reward you for protecting your children from the snares of the world. Thank you for stopping by and God bless you! ~Rita/LFFA
I remember it well . . . suddenly women were appearing at mass without their heads covered. I took it as a signal they were abandoning their belief in the Real Presence. What else could it possibly have meant? Acknowledgement of Jesus’s presence was why women had been covering their heads in the first place.
Polish women, BTW, used to have a handkerchief placed on their heads when their remains were taken into church for a funeral mass.
I started veiling last Mother’s Day, along with my grown daughter and her little daughter. It gives me a real sense of the sacred.
Careful, folks! After all, St. Paul also spoke against the wearing of gold jewelry (there go the wedding bands and earrings) and elaborate hairdos (that should cover the perms and color treatments)! But, seriously, the issue of modesty at church and in public is all but universally ignored: when was the last time you heard a mention of it in a sermon? And yet offenses against modesty must rank as a major occasion of sin.
I think we need to be careful here, Sandra not to see ‘sin’ everywhere. Quoting scripture and using the extreme version of what it might be referring it too. Wedding bands are surely approved by the Church as people have been getting married for decades and decades. Elaborate hairdos these days are not likely to shock anyone, considering how far society has fallen with piercings all over the face, and every color of hair out of the range of normal hair. eg; blue and green! Find a traditional Mass, and you will hear reminders about modesty at every sermon. Often offending a few here and there who were ‘unaware’. But, everyone is on a journey and all that matters is the DO find the truth, before it’s too late. Thank you for your input and thoughts. God bless you! 🙂 Rita/LFFA
I am a Catholic convert (formerly fundamentalist Baptist). I started covering my head during church service back when I was a Baptist and that did not go over well at all. I started with hats then went to scarves and whatnot. None of the men ever said anything but the women said some hateful things but since I was doing it for Christ, not for them, I figured it was their problem, not mine. I have had far fewer issues with women saying anything about head covering since I became Catholic except to say they wish they had the courage to do so. I have been greatly rewarded by my faithfulness in this issue as the strength I gained from facing the hostile women at my last church gave me the strength to become Catholic and THANK GOD for that!
Ella, that is a beautiful story! Welcome to the one, true catholic faith! Thank you for sharing your story with us to help others. God bless you! Rita/LFFA 🙂
Thank you Rita for bringing up the subject of head coverings. I grew up covering my head and still do. I even covered my head at two english masses. Yes, people looked at me, but I wore it out of respect and a responsibility too. I will say I struggle with all the ladies who know better, but chose their hair, feelings over being obedient. Reading these responses has helped me be more charitable in thought for these women who may be struggling with the idea. Thank you and God help us all understand his will more and more.
Thank you for your comments Beth. I’m so thankful that this post and especially the comments, are so helpful to you! Thank you Ladies for all your input here! God bless you as you grow in grace and love of HIM. ~Rita/LFFA 🙂
I started wearing head coverings when it was required during Mass at a conference in 2000.
When I would go to an occasional new rite Mass, I would still wear it. It was interesting how
people would react. Women would make sly looks and whisper to their friends, men would
hold open doors, good priests were fine with it. Once you know something is true, it should be done consistently wherever you go.Since 2004, I go to Mass where females from baby to elderly wear something appropriate on their heads. I have priests give reasons why women should cover their heads, such as “women’s hair is generally beautiful, during Mass it could be distracting.” I agree. FYI the church never stated women no longer need to cover their heads. A journalist submitted something to a newspaper decades ago, it was retracted later but women were all too glad to give it up. The bogus info “stuck.” It has nothing to do with Vatican II.
Yup DeAnna ! That journalist story I detailed on my book! So thankful for your input! God bless you! Rita/LFFA
There are only two who cover at my church. I do and one other lady. I’m not attacked for veiling but I also don’t attack anyone else. We have one lady who is a feminist but she doesn’t attack me directly she does get upset during the Bible studies the priest has after Mass. No I am determined to follow God- the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and it is well documented in the Bible so when anyone ask me about it I just say its in the Bible you can read for yourself. If they get nasty and say will no one dress like that now, I say well I believe God wants me to dress like this so I will. I had one lady ask if I were going to force her too dress like me and I told her no, I don’t have that kind of power but I will pray for you and everyone else. If it is in the heart of a women she will do it all of her own. About keeping the veil on your head. Sew in a hair comb the color of the veil or clear colored and then use the comb to place the veil on your head then it doesn’t slip about. I wear the cap kind of veil. I wear the veil whenever I pray or do Rosary. I feel like I am shifted to a different state when I wear it and feel closer to God. One point. I cover my head when I go out with a hat to protect from the sun but I always take my hat off and put on my veil for prayer. The veil for me is special and for prayer or being in the presence of God.
Jumping around your blog today Rita! You are a blessing to many and such a witness to our faith. Full disclosure: I am petrified of the thought of covering my head at Mass. I have done only skirts for a while but recently gave myself permission to stop, lol. And here I am again at a place where I am questioning what is right. It is all about pride. I definitely want to pray on this. I also feel inadequate. I don’t do a family rosary or even a daily rosary by myself. I feel stuck where I am spiritually, knowing I need to LIVE this awesome faith more and talk and read about it less. I just feel scattered and I feel like I am just spinning my wheels. When I come across someone like you who is struggling with her family to put your life back together, and the lovely women who have commented, I am humbled and grateful to be in your presence here on the web. I hope I will one day have the grace and courage to take a leap of faith. Thank you for all you share with us
I’m so glad you felt comfortable to share your struggles here! I’m really honored, truly! We all go through different times in our life, when things just don’t seem ‘right’. I soooo get it when you say I “feel like I am just spinning my wheels”…so much of my life is like this. Pray dear Dina, just pray…not a rosary, not your morning prayers, but just stretch our your heart to God and share with Him. We often get ourselves stuck with certain rules and things we think we need to follow (Did you know our dearest, St. Therese the little flower, didn’t like the rosary?!) We can’t feel like a failure because we aren’t ‘feeling’ the graces. Often it is our inadequacy is just what God is hoping we feel, so get us moved closer to Him. In that struggle, we can find God if we reach out to Him. Picture yourself in the garden of Gethsemane
suffering…before His death. That is my favorite spot to ‘find’ Him. He is so real there, so lifelike, suffering so humanely. Go to Him there, and ask Him to open your eyes to truth. To expand your heart to humility. I pray you will be blessed with an answer and courage soon. I will be praying for you….don’t leave me wondering but be sure to come back here and report. I hope you enjoy your blog visit today.
Author: Immodesty Satan’s Virtue (2001) and more…
Thank you, Rita! I will be sure to come back and let you know how it’s going. I’m grateful for your heartfelt and real advice. I didn’t know that about St Therese and I am blown away by that. I guess I’m always blown away when I encounter the humanity of the saints, even our Lord Jesus Himself. I feel a weight lifted from me because of your encouragement to just pray and not worry about all the “rules”. How did you know I struggle with that too: following rules, checking boxes, but only going through the motions and missing out on the beautiful relationship with The Lord Jesus. Thank you. At the earliest opportunity today I will meet Him in the garden and pray and converse with Him. Thank you again, Rita
I am not sure how I knew you struggled with following rules and such. Perhaps God put it on my heart? Perhaps I struggled with that too! 🙂 May I confess I too did not enjoy the rosary…well more now than before, but it’s not my favorite compared to just talking with God.
Our journey is always growing and changing… and when we get bogged down with life, kids, sleepless nights and more, life often becomes just habit. As our health suffers it clouds our thinking too, and makes it harder to reach out to Him. Many of us were not taught how to really converse with God outside of morning and evening prayers. Mental prayer is truly the heart of the spiritual life! And I will be waiting to hear from you with your updates! I really will. 🙂
God bless you as you seek Him in the garden,
Author: Immodesty, Satan’s Virtue (2001) and more…
Hi, thank you for this information. I have been a Catholic since birth. But I never wore a veil except for my first communion and at My wedding 21 years ago. But going up I saw a lot of the older ladies wear them and I honestly didn’t know why. I thought it was because they were mourning a loved one. But I feel that the Lord led me to know about the veil through youtube and google. Today I ordered a Chapel Doliles. I must admit I am nervous about wearing them. But I feel like God put it in my heart to do so. Thank you for letting me share this with you. God Bless.
Thank you for sharing your story Anna!
Yes, we all have been mislead not knowing what the reason was for wearing a veil. I am one of those as well.
I wrote, “Immodesty Satan’s Virtue” in 1999 and at that time there was no other resources for these topics. In there I have a chapter on how the veil was misunderstood when it fell out of use. If your nervous try wearing it at home at first during your prayers and rosary. That will help you get more comfortable with it before you head out to Mass with it.
I am now and editing the 3rd Edition with new research and I think it will answer alot of questions you might have left.
I hope you’ll pick up a copy and at least pray for me that I can finish it after pulling it out of our ashes!
God bless you and hope to hear from you again,
Author of the bestselling, “Immodesty, Satans Virtue” (2001) saved from the ashes, returns in 2015!