- At the Vigil we have the assembly process to the baptismal waters and bless themselves with the water after the renewal of the baptismal promises—the missal directs this action as a sprinkling by the priest— it seems the procession to the font is a “local” custom and an adaptation of the ritual—correct? Would the church see this adaptation as an abuse of the ritual? Would it be a fair “argument” that since we have holy water at the doors of the nave for people to bless themselves as they enter into the nave, that people blessing themselves within the liturgy is acceptable? (by the way, no one is challenging me on this, I am just wanting to be as informed as possible).
- This leads me to my next thought: if it is acceptable for people to bless themselves with holy water, then that leads me to think that a lay minister, i.e. a sacristan, could reasonably participate in the sprinkling. Again, just trying to find more considerations to support this.
A: I agree with you on both points. Here in my parish, I too invite people to come sign themselves with water at the Vigil. But that is partly because I have just been in the font baptizing the elect, and I need a little time to go back to the sacristy and change into dry clothing. I find that this activity by the people covers the time I need.
After I commented that the symbol of sprinkling is more about the water than the minister, I recalled one detail about the sprinkling rite. It is hierarchical. “taking the aspergillum, the Priest sprinkles himself and the ministers, then the clergy and people, moving through the church, if appropriate.”