ASK FATHER: Asperges before Low Mass?

From a reader…


Can the Asperges rite can take place at a Sunday Low Mass if it is the principal Mass?

Firstly, since this is still the Season of Easter, on these Sundays we are still singing Vidi aquamAsperges returns after Pentecost.

Auctores scinduntur… authors are divided about this question.  Some say that the Asperges or Vidi aquam sprinkling rite ought to be performed only before Sung or Solemn Masses.  Others say before the principal Mass sic et simpliciter, thus even if it is a Low Mass.

I think the most common practice is to have the Asperges before Masses that are at least sung.   Once upon a time in England the bishops ordered that it be done at the principal Mass no matter what level.   In these USA I think the Council of Baltimore said it was to be every Sunday no matter what level.

So, I don’t think it would be wrong to have the Asperges before a Low Mass that is the principal Mass of the parish (a place where there is a baptismal font).  It would not be wrong but it wouldn’t be customary.

One might ask the question: “Why deny people the benefit, just because it isn’t a Sung Mass?”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    It’s useful to remember that the rubrics (especially the general rubrics) of the Missal often presume monastic or canonical discipline. I.e. the rubrics are written as if there is an established community to tend to the liturgical life of the place. But, in that case, the principal Mass would have been the capitular or conventual Mass—i.e. the one everyone in the community was expected to assist at. And that Mass would certainly have been a sung Mass. So the question “what happens if the principal Mass is not sung?” is, in a certain sense, beyond what is anticipated by the rubrics. It seems to me that the best thing to do would be to start organizing a schola! (Or at least a core of cantors.) But, in the meantime, as Father Z so often reminds us: why let the perfect be the enemy of the good?

  2. William Cody says:

    I’d rather have debates over whether or not to have the asperges before low mass than over whether father’s sermon was barely heretical or barely orthodox….(with no asperges at all!)

  3. albinus1 says:

    Would the Asperges be sung if the rest of the Mass isn’t?

  4. Ariseyedead says:

    More Asperges!

  5. Jack in NH says:

    Ariseyedead, yes!
    I love that the Asperges pages in my missal are all wrinkly…

  6. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    albinus1: Sure, why not? The Asperges (Vidi aquam) ceremony is not a part of the Mass.

Comments are closed.