Sprinkling rite

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  When the sprinkling rite is used during a Mass, we have had a sacristan help the presider sprinkle the assembly with the holy water. Because of our layout, the sacristan has assisted by taking one side of the church while the priest sprinkles the other side. This has helped with the time it takes to sprinkle the entire assembly. Our pastor wants to know if that is okay or not.

A:  There is no provision for a lay person to assist in the sprinkling. No forbidding it either. In a church your size, if the priest does it alone, he may have to sprinkle just a representative number of the people, which is not ideal. I think there’s no damage to having a sacristan assist. The symbol is the water more than the minister. However, the USCCB’s Introduction to the Order of Mass 74 allows another option: the priest may start the ritual at the door of the church before processing to the sanctuary. He then sprinkles on his way in. All the liturgical descriptions of the sprinkling presume that the priest is the minister who does it.