Q: A neighboring parish has automatic “Touchless Holy Water Dispensers” for parishioners use when they enter church to sign themselves with blessed water. Now, a couple of parishioners would like to acquire some for use in our church.
I’m reluctant to go that route… but I do value your good sense in church matters. Could you let me know your position on using those automatic dispensers in church ?
A: Here’s a remark I made in my presentation at the Annual Diocesan Conference in Las Vegas this fall. I was surveying the practices many parishes set up during the pandemic.
“Some parishes set up touchless dispensers that spray holy water onto your hands the way other public dispensers spray soap. This preserved sanitation, but it further distanced the experience from the baptism it represents. Our word “baptism” comes from a Greek verb meaning “to dip.” When we baptize, we immerse or we pour; we don’t spray.”