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Old Mar 10, '05, 2:39 pm
Lucania's Avatar
Lucania Lucania is offline
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Join Date: June 7, 2004
Posts: 2,478
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Default Why are holy water fonts drained during Lent?

I was wondering why some churches drain the holy water from the font during Lent. My church does not do this but a nearby church that I sometimes attend does.
I believe in getting into hot water, it keeps you clean
G.K. Chesterson
Old Mar 10, '05, 3:12 pm
Michelle Arnold's Avatar
Michelle Arnold Michelle Arnold is offline
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Join Date: May 3, 2004
Posts: 5,122
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Why are holy water fonts drained during Lent?

Presumably because the pastor or liturgy committee thinks that dry fonts will foster the "desert experience" and the penitential nature of Lent. Regardless of motive, the holy water fonts should not be emptied until after the beginning of the Triduum on Holy Thursday. (Lent ends and the Triduum begins when the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday begins.) On March 14, 2000, the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments released a statement on the practice, saying the following:

The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently ... of her sacraments and sacramentals is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The "fast" and "abstinence" which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church. The practice of the Church has been to empty the holy water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday) [source].
Recommended reading:

Holy Water Fonts and Lent

Last edited by Michelle Arnold; Feb 14, '06 at 12:00 pm.

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