Humeral veil

From Academic Kids

The humeral veil is one of the liturgical vestments of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. It consists of a piece of silk or gold cloth about 2.75 m long and 90 cm wide draped over the shoulders and down the front. At the ends there are usually pockets in the back for hands to go into so that the wearer can hold items without touching them with his or her hands. The humeral veil usually matches the liturgical colours of the vestments, but if it doesn't it would be white or gold.

It is most often seen during the liturgy of Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The priest or deacon uses it when he or she holds the monstrance over the people at the benediction part of the rite. The Celebrant covers his or her hands with the ends of the veil so that his or her hands do not touch the monstrance, thus symbolizing that it is Jesus present in the Eucharist that blesses the people and not the minister.

The humeral veil is also used during the Mass. Whenever a bishop presides over Mass and uses a mitre and crosier, the altar servers assigned to hold those items for him or her cover themselves with the humeral veil before holding them, symbolizing that the items do not belong to them. Until the reform of the minor orders after the Second Vatican Council, it was also used by the subdeacon at High Mass when he carried the chalice, paten, or other sacred vessels since those were to be touched only by the deacon.

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