ASK FATHER: Traditional aspergillum or “whisk”?

From a reader…


For years now our parish has used the equivalent of a small whisk broom instead of a more traditional aspergillum during the Easter season. The “whisk broom” seems to throw much more water and the priests and deacons seem to prefer this method of “sprinkling”.

It is hard to say what is more “traditional”, one of them there metal balls with holes on the end of a stick or a “whisk” which imitates a mass of hyssop branches.  After all, the chant of the Asperges, which the Vidi Aquam replaces in Easter, refers to the hyssop.

It all depends on how much Holy Water the priest intends to send downrange.

Some priests are snipers with an M40.  Others like SEALs with their Mk 14 Mod 0 Enhanced Battle Rifle. Others are like door gunners with their 7.63, six-barrelled M134 Minigun.

It’s a matter of preference and, of course, how well-equipped the armory… the sacristy is.

The late-great Bp. Morlino, the Extraordinary Ordinary, used a whisk-like contraption that probably delivered a pint per pitch.

Speaking of which, when the new Space Force is inaugurated, I’ll be ready both with aspergillum and with whatever else they set me up with. These certificates should go into my CV right away.

It was a trick getting these, I can tell you, given that the Space Shuttle doesn’t fly anymore.

Yes, another day, another weapon mastered.

In any event, when I figure it out, for my Asperges or Vidi Aquam it’ll be…




About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JustaSinner says:

    Maybe it’s the Masochist in me, but I like the celebrant with the ‘fire hose’ approach. EVERYONE gets a dunkin-er sprinkling and you KNOW it.

  2. Credoh says:

    I went to Mass in Holland a couple of years ago, in a church where the NO was offered in Latin. The priest holy-soaked the congregation using a brush which was identical-looking to a toilet brush only fully four times the size… That caught my attention…

  3. THREEHEARTS says:

    mike hurcum writes
    In the Basilica at Guadeloupe the priest uses a small shrub, for want of a better description, most likely a hyssop tree. A great catapult with great range.I was near the back and I got soaked. Sprinkle me with hyssop O Lord and I shall be purified.

  4. Jack in NH says:

    The Asperges pages of my missal are all crinkly.

  5. Veritatis Splendor says:

    Up in New England, I’ve seen balsam fir branches used.

  6. rcg says:

    There is a kind of mold whose spore organs are shaped like a stem with a ball on the end. The Italian priest, Fr. Pier Antonio Micheli, who discovered them under his microscope named the organ Aspergillus and that descriptive name is also used by that genus (but also Michelii, in his honor). Species of this mold is also responsible for helping start fermentation in cases where the starches are to complex for the bacteria or yeasts to get the ‘ball’ rolling.

    Small world. <== Last pun.

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    Laity secret revealed = we are disappointed and feel cheated when the sprinkle doesn’t reach us

  8. Gab says:

    Dear Father Henry, in his 70s, was dousing away after Mass on Tuesday amid giggles from the children (and some adults), only for Father to stop mid-dousing to say “Can you tell I’m enjoying this”?

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