Friday, January 18, 2008

Caution: Do Not Remove the Holy Water During Lent

Fr. Daren explains why this custom is so contrary to the observance of Lent.
The intention, I think, was good and was to help people repent of their sins by attempting to get them to focus on their baptism, but, as I have said before, they removed the very thing that helps us to focus on our baptism. I can’t say that I even once remembered baptism when I could not find the holy water. I was, instead, irritated by the fact that the holy water was gone and began to think ill of those in charge (which should have led to repentance rather quickly but often didn’t). The logic was flawed and, as is so very often the case these days, the thought was not carried out to its completion...


Lisa said...

This one's a new one on me? People are removing the holy water from the fonts during Lent, or what? Curious.

EC Gefroh said...

Yes Lisa. For awhile, our church would remove the Holy Water and cover the font with a purple tulle instead. I think that changed with our new pastor though.

Tracy said...

This is very good, I have always felt so sad to see the water removed, my parish does remove it but I think it depends on who your Priest or Bishop is and how they feel.

Maryellen said...

Thanks for posting this Esther. It's another of the post-VaticanII innovations. That was done in our Parish in Iowa. At first I thought it was a good idea and it's meaning was clear (we were 'fasting' in a sense).

That first Lent when the font was dry caused me to long for it. When Easter came and the font was full of Holy Water, I dipped my fingers and tears came to my eyes. The fast was over, and the privilege of being able to perform the Sign with Holy water was all the more significant after the 6 week fasting from it.

Later, I realized it wasn't a good idea. For me, Lent is a lean and barren time - no Gloria - no Alleluias. It was too hard on me to not have Holy water to bless with.

I really appreciate Fr. Daren's explanation. He said it well.

At our present Parish, the font is not empty during Lent. We have Holy water all year long and I love making the Sign of the Cross with it.

Marie said...

I have to admit I find that Tradition odd. Our senses are assaulted everyday, surely we need every assitance to keep our hearts centred on God. Most especially our youth.

Good point Esther:)

Peace, JOY & Love to you:)

Marie xoxoxox

gemoftheocean said...

It seemed to be the thing in some "Irish Mafia" parishes, if you know what I mean.


Ann Murray said...

I've never heard of this practise, but I have to confess to spending many years just going through the motions - you know, into chapel, out of chapel and not very much registering in between.
But in the last five years after I wakened up, so to speak, I can't recall a time when fonts were empty or covered....
Now I value Holy Water and am a great believer in its protective powers, as I know are many others.

EC Gefroh said...

That is true Tracy.

Mary Ellen, I hope our churches don't remove it this Lent or I will have to bring my own bottle of Holy Water to bless us with :-)

You make a good point Marie.

Sorry Karen, but you'll have to explain that one to me.

Veritas, I am so glad Catholics are rediscovering if you will, our sacramentals.

Fr. J. said...

Thanks of this post. I can't agree with you more.

Post Consiliar liturgics was an extended exercise in wackiness based on the idea of novelty.

Liturgy is ritual. And the key to ritual is repetition, not novelty. Repetition with gradual organic development over centuries is one thing, but subscribing to the latest fad in liturgics is an abuse.

Compare two elements of modern lenten practice and you get the idea. Purple coverings over statues is out "because we are not in mourning" and Resurrection is as true during lent as any other time of year. But sand, stones and purple swatches in holy water fonts is appropriate because lent is like "going into the desert." Yipes. Inanity. There is a contradiction here. These practices are pointing in opposite directions. In these two modern practices common in many parishes, one sees that the guiding principle in modern liturgy is nothing but doing things differently than before. Ick.

Novelty for the sake of novelty is a violation of liturgical principle as liturgy is about continuity from generation to generation across time and space. Continuity is communion with the ages. Continuity transports us from these spiritually hollow times into the Catholic imagination embedded in traditions of time immemorial.

EC Gefroh said...

Mahalo Fr. J for commenting here. Would you mind if I posted your comment on my blog so others can read it?