Holy Water is one of the main symbols of the Easter Season, and a familiar element of liturgies and of receiving the Sacraments. By definition, Holy Water is water blessed by a priest.
Throughout our lives, we have dipped our fingers in Holy Water and made the sign of the cross when coming into church, symbolizing the renewal of our baptism.
We have been sprinkled with Holy Water during Mass, we have watched as it is poured on the heads of babies in baptism, and we have seen it used in the blessing of people, objects and places.
Holy Water is a “sacramental,” meaning it is one of the sacred signs instituted by the Church that are related to one of the Holy Sacraments. Examples of other sacramentals are palms, ashes and candles.
Holy Water has always been seen as a sign of protection against evil. Also, it is a sign of life. Without water, a person dies. Likewise, in the renewing waters of baptism, we are given new life.
In the Easter Season, Holy Water is blessed at the Easter Vigil on Saturday night before Easter Sunday. Some of this “Easter Water” is distributed to the faithful for use in their homes, and the rest is used for baptisms in the Church.
This year, of course, Holy Water fonts went dry, and the distribution of Easter Water for use in our homes was delayed, as part of the effort to limit the spread of disease.
Parishes will arrange for distribution of Easter Water when the pandemic eases and it is safe to do so.