Veronica’s Veil

DSCN1721The Passionists, the community I belong to, were founded by St. Paul of the Cross (+1874) to keep alive the memory of the Passion of Jesus Christ. For 86 years, from 1915-2001, people from Saints Joseph and Michael’s parish in Union City, NJ,  a parish nearby where the Passionists served for many years, presented a Passion play, “Veronica’s Veil,” during Lent.  Two Passionists , Father Bernardine Dusch, CP, and Father Conrad Eiben, CP,  were the play’s creators.

Patrick Allen, a Union City native and the last stage manager of the play in 2001, has begun to bring the play “back into service,” he says. Last Lent, on Good Friday, the Veronica Veil players processed through the streets of New York’s Little Italy near Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, reenacting the Lord’s journey to Calvary, and ended up in the church itself.

Patrick hopes to present the play again in Union City and New York City this coming Lent. This Thursday, June 25th, he’s accompanying Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the new archbishop of New York, to Rome where the archbishop will receive the pallium from Pope Benedict XIV.

At the Mass, Allen will bring a service banner from Veronica’s Veil as part of the offertory gifts. Afterwards, the banner will be placed with the original relic of the veil presently enclosed in one of the great pillars in St. Peter’s Basilica next to the main altar.

For centuries, Passion plays have told the story of the Passion of Jesus. The banner to be blessed by the pope this Saturday explains why they are created. “May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts.”

Here’s Patrick talking about Veronica’s Veil.

9 thoughts on “Veronica’s Veil

  1. Mary Fagan

    To whom it may concern, looking to be in contact with some one who can give me more information about the passion play. Thank you Mary Fagan

  2. Ellen Balla

    Hello, I was the child who was brought back to life by Veronica’s Veil – I was in the second grade at St. Joseph Catholic School, Union City, NJ when the director cast me as one of the children to play this role – my cousin was the second child. I’m 61 now. I remember the beautiful, sacred message. Thank you for keeping this message alive.

  3. Edward Garibaldi

    Hi everyone, I am so glad that Veronica’s Veil has not vanished from our memory. My name is Edward Garibaldi, now 80 years old but my memories of the “Veil” will never fade. I joined the group in the early 1950’s and remained active until the mid 1960’s. I played many parts including Judas and Petronius. During the early 1960’s Evelyn Tuttle who was playing Veronica asked if I was up to painting a new Veil as the prop one she used in performance was quite worn and yes indeed I agreed and the Veil you see on the banner was indeed painted by me. Many years later I attended a wake at St Joseph/St Michaels and was surprised to see the veil and the banner displayed in the entryway of the church. I know the recent fire severley damaged the church and I no longer know the fate of the Veil, but I do have photos and memories that can never be destroyed.Veronica’s Veil will live forever in my mind.

  4. vhoagland Post author

    That was a great production, Edward. A treasure in Union City. Congratulations and may God bless you for your time and talent. Fv. Victor Hoagland

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