While I publish this blog on April 23rd it is the Wednesday of Holy Week in the Catholic Church as I sit in the extraordinary Cathedral of St. Augustine in St. Augustine, Florida. This 450 year old church is perhaps the oldest in America and filled with tradition.
Needing a boost in faith I sought out a mass to attend. While I am a believer and follower I have never been to a Chrism Mass in my 62 years as a Catholic. Chrism is the oil used during the sacraments of the church for the anointing of believers during baptismal and confirmation rites. Each year the bishop blesses this oil to be used for the year at this mass.
Also at this mass the priests of the diocese renewed their vows. The basilica church is filled to capacity with priests, deacons, altar servers and the congregation. I always feel such strength and the presence of God when a church is filled with believers as it is today.
The mass is two hours long and as I observe those women around me I note one woman wearing a lace mantilla. Growing up Catholic I watched the demise of hats by women of the church. As a child I recall during the Easter season there was a mad dash to locate this millinery to keep our head covered during services. Then by 10 years of age hats were replaced by lace mantillas which by my teen years became replaced by a small circle of lace quietly placed on the top of the head. Shortly thereafter this item disappeared to no fanfare. We still believed the same minus this headgear.
As I recently returned from the Middle East I think of the Hijab the women of the Muslim religion don. While I don’t understand the entire concept I see the world changing quickly and wonder of this millinery’s duration. Perhaps that too will see the same fate? Does millinery such as this unify or ostracize? Does it make us any more holy? And if I have offended anyone please accept my sincere apologies.
However, this is something to consider…