St. Isidore's of Stow

Why we bless ourselves with holy water coming into church
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Author:  cac [ Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:08 am ]
Post subject:  Why we bless ourselves with holy water coming into church

It has long been the custom of Catholics to bless themselves with holy water when entering a Catholic Church. The symbolism of this is to remind ourselves of our baptism as the sacrament through which we entered the Church. One of the reasons behind the recommendation to place the baptismal font at the entrance of the church is so that we might strengthen that symbolism by blessing ourselves with water directly from the baptismal font.
In older days, when most churches did not have a stationary baptismal font, smaller holy water dishes were placed at church entrances for people to use. Over time the symbolism tended to be lost and people would bless themselves from these small dishes without making the connection to their baptism.
At St. Isidore's we are blessed with a wonderful permanent and prominent baptismal font located at the main entrance to the church. When we finished the renovations, we did not reinstall the former holy water dishes at the entrances purposely to invite people to use the water from the baptismal font.
We continue to invite people for the weekend Masses either to use the main entrance so that they naturally pass the baptismal font or, if they use the side entrances, to come to the font and bless themselves before taking their seats.
For the convenience of some of the more elderly daily Mass community, we have recently placed small glass dishes with water from the font for their use.

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