Q: In a previous post in regards to having no baptisms at the Easter Vigil in a parish church you referenced looking in the Missal at number 42 and then being invited to skip to 54 for the blessing… (In this case, I presume this to mean that you would use the blessing at 54 to bless the font) Would you process to the font with the paschal candle or without?
A: Thanks for asking this because I needed to clarify a couple of points on this. The liturgy considers three possible scenarios:
- The blessing of the font followed by baptisms
- The blessing of the font not followed by baptisms
- No blessing of the font and no baptisms.
I believe that the second option implies that you are anticipating baptisms sometime soon, probably during the Easter season, and you want to have water blessed from the Vigil at those baptisms. In that case, I probably would carry the paschal candle in the procession to the font (singing the litany of the saints) because it may be lowered into the water for the blessing. The baptisms are, in a sense, deferred.
If you are not blessing water to be used at a future baptism, then no litany is sung and the paschal candle is not involved. The priest is simply blessing water (54 is not a blessing of the font) to be sprinkled on the people after the renewal of baptismal promises in 55.