Parish Holy Water Fonts Empty? Full of Sand?

by Steve Ray on March 12, 2009

loughdergfontSome poor parisheners are suffering this from the “progressive” and trendy practice of emptying holy water fonts and baptismal fonts during Lent. Some parishes have even been known to fill the font with sand after the water is emptied out. I guess this is to symbolize the desert. Clever, trendy, but not in line with the teaching and instruction of the Church.

Hopefully, fewer parishes each year are playing with unacceptable and silly  innovations.

On a recent Catholic Answers Live segment Jimmy Akin called this kind of new practice a “stupid” idea, if I remember correctly. I agree. Though we are to deprive ourselves of certain things during Lent, the Sacraments and sacramentals are not one of them.

We may set aside chocolate and soft drinks, but sacramentals, no. Sorry!

For more on this matter you can read here and here. If you suffer from this silly practicd, you may want to update your priest.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

le pelerin March 13, 2009 at 12:00 PM

When I first moved into this area in OH, our new parish had the sand in the holy water fonts and cactiis all over. But in the last few years, the holy water has returned!
There’s hope.

Kevin J Jones March 13, 2009 at 12:32 PM

My parish used to empty its fonts. Then a few years ago I sent in a friendly e-mail giving the relevant information to our parish’s liturgist.

It worked! The parish stopped the practice.

Amy March 13, 2009 at 3:46 PM

It’s a shame the liturgists have taken so much control of parishes, that THEY’RE the ones the lay people must talk to. I haven’t been to my home parish since Lent began For quite a few years now, they’ve not had water in the Holy Water Font during Lent. Stations of the Cross are led by lay people. It’s idiotic to see altar boys (and girls) in their cassocks, with candles accompanying along The Way the alter-Christi-who-is-not-a-priest, but an Extraordinary-minister-of-the-eucharist or Lector or Youth Minister or Soccer Mom. Even worse, almost salt in the wound, is our Parish Priest, who chooses to participate in these most unattractive liturgies, by sitting in a distant pew, and praying along with us. It is so dreadful I can’t make myself go there this year.

The words in the booklet are to be read by The Priest. The other words are the response, to be read by US. It’s depressing to basically be the ones reading the priest’s (Jesus’s) lines AND our own — that’s what it feels like!

Jane Teresa March 13, 2009 at 5:07 PM

I’ve taken to carrying a bottle of holy water around in case of encountering this problem.

Donna R Procher March 13, 2009 at 5:58 PM

In our parish at Easter the pastor puts on the altar a 6′x8′x3′ portable pool banked with decorative rocks, a small waterfall and Easter flowers. Since this becomes the Easter “waters”, the holy water fonts are removed and replaced with artifical flowers in pots until the end of the Easter season. Those members of the congregation who wish to bless themselves before or after Mass are expected to go to the pool on the altar. Guess how many avail themselves of this innovative sacramental. If you suggest “very few” you are right. Is there any teaching on this practice?

Mary Morgan March 14, 2009 at 1:18 PM

My parish too emptied the fonts and adorned them with purple ribbons. I am not sure what the ribbons symbolized. I copied the Vatican instruction on this matter and presented it to our pastoral administrator who became angry and condescending towards me. In her final, “What am I supposed to do with this,” I said, “Just thought you would like to know.” and walked away. The ribbons remained for the rest of Lent, but the next year, our holy water returned.

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