Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: holy water and crucifix
holy water and crucifix QUESTION from Renee' Wilding March 23, 2001 Our church has taken out holy water for fasting for Lent. Doesn't the Church require that holy water be available to the people at all times except Good Fri. and Holy Sat? Where can I find info to present to the parish?
Also, isn't a crucifix witht the body of Christ shown to be in the altar area visible to the congregation required during Mass? Our parish has taken out the crucifix for Lent and replaced it with a stick figure of Jesus in the aisle out of the Sanctuary not able to be seen by people in the front rows. I need to know how to present this if I am correct.
Thank you. R Wilding
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on April 17, 2001 Dear Mrs. Wilding:
Although I cannot find any documents on the Holy Water issue at the moment, I believe that the Holy Water is removed only on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. (removed after the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday)
On the issue of the crucifix I will post the anwer to that question from the www.catholicliturgy.com site:
According to the Sacramentary, The practice of covering crosses and images in the church may be observed, if the episcopal conference decides. The crosses are to be covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord's passion on Good Friday. Images are to remain covered until the beginning of the Easter vigil. This statement allows the veiling of statues and crucifixes if the Episcopal conference votes in favor of the practice. In a 1995 issue of the Bishop's Committee on the Liturgy Newsletter (official publication for the liturgical committee of the United States), it was stated that the US bishops had never voted on this provision so in the United States at least, this practice is not to be done.
The Sacramentary also states that following the Holy Thursday Mass the altar is stripped and, if possible, the crosses are removed from the church. It is desirable to cover any crosses which remain in the church.
In 1988 the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship issued Paschale Solemnitatis, a new document on the Easter feasts. According to this document, It is fitting that any crosses in the church be covered with a red or purple veil, unless they have already been veiled on the Saturday before the fifth Sunday of Lent. (n. 57)
This leaves the decision to cover the crucifixes in the church up to the individual parishes but strongly encourages this tradition.
Even though the veiling of crucifixes is highly recommended and not mandatory, it does not make liturgical sense to have the unveiling of the crucifix on Good Friday if the crucifixes were never covered in the first place.
The stick figure thing does not appear to be of significance since it is outside the sanctuary, but I do find it weird.
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