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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Holy Water Fonts

This morning when I arrived for Mass, I was disappointed to see that the large font had been drained of water, and hoped Father hadn't been talked into some ridiculous practice. I was happy to note that the smaller fonts, as in the one near the chapel, was still full of water.

My own parish, happily, doesn't engage with stupid non-liturgical anti-GIRM practices of adding sand to the holy water fonts during Lent, although I do recall that during the Triduum they EMPTY them and take the opportunity to clean them thoroughly before refilling them for Easter.

Much to my amusement, during Mass, Father addressed the question of the empty font, brought to him by a child en route to the church this morning.

The student had asked him, "Why is the holy water font empty? What is the significance of that?"

Father explained, "Actually, the significance is very simple: the pump is broken and we have to replace it today!"

Whew! I love the wisdom of humor of our Pastor!


Warren said...

I was Anglican for ten years before becoming Catholic, and one element of Anglican lenten piety that I still miss is that the holy water fonts are all emptied during lent, or at least for holy week they are empty. Some Catholic parishes observe this, and some do not, and I think it is a diocese-by-diocese tradition.

The dry, barren desert motif is quite apropos, I think.

Does the GIRM forbit such practices or does it merely not require them?

There are other differences, such as when, and for how long, and which specific things, such as statues should be veiled during the second half of lent, or starting at passion sunday, or for the triduum only.

I believe starting only recently in Canada, the Bishops have become quite regular about it, whereas practices varied in this area, until they decided to tighten things up a bit.


Adoro said...

Warren ~ We are NOT to remove water from holy water fonts during Lent. It started happening as a result of a non-endorsed publication out of the USCCB (ie the Bishops did NOT promulgate or support this).

The problem is that those that remove holy water do not understand the theology of Lent, and the fact that yes, we fast...but not from sacramentals. We NEED sacramentals far more during Lent than during the rest of the year as it is a time of intense spiritual warfare.

So it's not a diocesan thing, actually, it's more of a parish with a badly informed liturgist kind of thing.

And it's a deprivation to those who have a right to the proper sacramentals of the season.

Adoro said...

Here's more info:

and I highly recommend:

Adoro said...

OH, sorry, as far as veiling statues...I believe that IS a diocesan thing. I know that our Ordinary has indicated that those parishes for which it's a tradition can veil during passiontide (last 2 weeks of lent), but it is not a requirement. I imagine that means that those parishes that want to begin can do so with proper education to stop the shock factor and prevent the Pastor from being hanged by vigilantes.

Christine said...

I (red-faced) always thought it was required to empty the fonts and I was wondering why my parish didn't empty them this year. I guess they finally started doing it right! LOL Thanks for clarifying!

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Thank goodness my parish doesn't do the desert experience ;)...but they will be empty for the Tridiuum.