If you’re reading this article in Carmel, then you’ve more than likely picked up the parish bulletin as you’ve come into the church. It’s probably one of the things you do every Sunday as you come in. It’s part of your little ritual of making your way to Mass.
Something else you hopefully do as you enter the church is blessing yourself with holy water. Sometimes we dip our hand into the stoup and make the sign of the cross almost without thinking because it’s become a habit. But why do we do it?
In Easter Vigils past, some parishioners have looked curiously at newly blessed water being taken from the baptismal font and being poured into the holy water stoups at the doors. Yet this is exactly what should happen, for our blessing as we enter and leave the church is to remind us of our baptism.Each of us who will approach the altar later in this Mass to share in communion have that in common. The Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy from Vatican II reminds us that celebrating Mass is our right and duty as baptised Catholics (article 14).
This is just one reason why more recently built or renovated churches (St. Patrick’s Cathedral being one example) often have their baptismal fonts at the main entrance. There are no holy water stoups because people bless themselves with water directly from the font.It makes the reason for this blessing ritual of ours far more obvious.
So take the time to think about what you do as you enter the church.Bless yourself with the water through which you became a Catholic.Remind yourself that all that we do is done in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Bless your children and grandchildren as they enter and leave with you.