Need liturgical advice/expertise
  • My parish is to host a workshop for Youth Ministry Directors/Volunteers for our diocese. The diocesan youth coordinator has requested our parish’s musical and liturgical leadership for two “prayer events” that will open and close the day’s events. He has not provided an order of worship for these and has requested that we articulate these sessions. However, he has requested the use of a baptismal font that he envisions being used for a renewal of baptismal promises. He implies that this font would be used in a procession wherein the participants would approach the font after the renewal of vows and then bless themselves.
    Where I need advice:
    1. Is this licit in the context of a prayer service that will be based upon the day’s Liturgy of the Hours?
    2. If it isn’t otherwise licit, but they push for a renewal of baptismal promises within the context of this liturgy, shouldn’t a cleric “asperges” a congregation, rather than a redundant, individual dipping and blessing (one does this upon entering the church, yes?)
    3. Can anyone provide document citations for such a scenario for me?

    Thank you very much,
  • Sounds like someone would prefer to be Baptist. Charles, none of this is very Catholic, so why worry about propriety?
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    Well, I would worry about the propriety of it (which is typical of me anyways) on the grounds that para-liturgies like this, dreamt up in the fertile imaginations of folks like this diocesan director and coming from a clearly protestantized understanding of liturgy, have only added to the abuses and poor catechetical development of now a third generation (or is it fourth?) of Catholics who have precious little understanding of the Church and how she prays. In this case it's a distortion of both the rite and the sacrament of baptism and how it functions. ISTM that there are proper times and places for the use of the baptismal rites and renewal of promises, and this ain't it.

    Of course, in matters like this, the first person to approach is the pastor, as he (canonically) is responsible for what goes on under the roof of his parish.

    As for me personally, I'd do only the minimum work (since it's not a parish event) unless told otherwise. I've always hated these "airy-fairy" feel-good para-liturgies that get tacked onto "workshops."

  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Charles - I think the combination of a renewal of baptismal vows with the active participation via dipping in a baptismal font is hazardous. Some of the kids (and adults) are likely to picture this as a second baptism which is definitely NOT Catholic. With the proper catechesis this could be taught as a reminder of their baptism, but it's a slippery slope.

    Rather, I'd suggest you figure out what the time of day will be for these sessions and you do an actual Liturgy of the Hours for that time. It need not be elaborate, but should follow the appropriate rubrics. Kids aren't children, you know; they can recognize a serious formal prayer and treat it with respect. In fact they're likely to treat it with more dignity and respect than many of their elders.

    If there is a priest to officiate, he might want to incorporate the renewal of baptismal vows into a homily given during the prayer session. No asperges, no font, no holy water for the ceremony.

    Play within the foul lines. Your parish liturgical leadership should make that clear.