Thursday, January 31, 2008

Liturgy: Things to avoid this Lent...

Does your parish remove the Holy Water from the fonts during Lent? If so, what rationale do they give?

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said back in 2000 that this practice, "the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted".
This Congregation for Divine Worship has received your letter sent by fax in which you ask whether it is in accord with liturgical law to remove the Holy Water from the fonts for the duration of the season of Lent.

This Dicastery is able to respond that the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted, in particular, for two reasons:
  1. The liturgical legislation in force does not foresee this innovation, which in addition to being praeter legem is contrary to a balanced understanding of the season of Lent, which though truly being a season of penance, is also a season rich in the symbolism of water and baptism, constantly evoked in liturgical texts.
  2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently [of her] sacraments and sacramentals is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The "fast" and "abstinence" which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church. The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday).
So don't do it. And if your parish does it, politely request of your pastor that the practice be avoided and the abuse corrected.

2 comments:

Moonshadow said...

The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum

These are the only days I've ever noticed it missing!

Offered a prayer for that youth as I passed your parish yesterday morning.

japhy said...

I think my home parish empties the fonts for Lent... I seem to remember masking tape in the form of a cross over them.

Last year during Lent, at my current parish, I noticed the baptismal font was missing. I was rather concerned, until I found out the reason: it was being repaired for the Easter Vigil.

I'm sure the boy and his family appreciate your prayers.