Order for the Blessing of Holy Water Outside Mass

The Blessing of Holy Water Outside Mass


1388  On the basis of age-old custom, water is one of the signs that the Church often uses in blessing the faithful. Holy water reminds the faithful of Christ, who is given to us as the supreme divine blessing, who called himself the living water, and who in water established baptism for our sake as the sacramental sign of the blessing that brings salvation.

1389  The blessing and sprinkling of holy water usually takes place on Sunday, in keeping with the rite given in the Roman Missal.

1390  But when the blessing of water takes place outside Mass, the rite given here may be used by a priest or deacon. While maintaining the structure and chief elements of the rite, the celebrant should adopt the celebration to the circumstances of the place and the people involved.


1391  The celebrant begins with these words:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All make the sign of the cross and reply:


1392  The celebrant greets those present in the following or other suitable words, taken mainly from Scripture.

May God, who through water and the Holy Spirit has given us a new birth in Christ, be with you all.

All make the following or some other suitable reply.

And with your spirit.

1393  As circumstances suggest, the celebrant may prepare those present for the blessing in the following or similar words.

The blessing of this water reminds us of Christ, the living water, and of the sacrament of baptism, in which we were born of water and the Holy Spirit. Whenever, therefore, we are sprinkled with this holy water or use it in blessing ourselves on entering the church or at home, we thank God for his priceless gift to us and we ask for his help to keep us faithful to the sacrament we have received in faith.


1394  A reader, another person present, or the celebrant reads a short text of Sacred Scripture.

Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the holy gospel according to John

John 7:37-39
Let anyone who is thirsty come to me.

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says:

‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.’”

He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive. There was, of course, no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Alternate Readings


1396  After the reading, the celebrant says:

Let us pray.

All pray briefly in silence, then with hands outstretched, the celebrant says the prayer of blessing.

Blessed are you, Lord, all-powerful God,
who in Christ, the living water of salvation,
blessed and transformed us.
Grant that, when we are sprinkled with this water or make use of it,
we will be refreshed inwardly by the power of the Holy Spirit
and continue to walk in the new life we received at baptism.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

1397  Or:

Lord, holy Father,
look kindly on your children,
redeemed by your Son
and born to a new life by water and the Holy Spirit.
Grant that those who are sprinkled with this water
may be renewed in body and spirit
and may make a pure offering of their service to you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

1398  Or the celebrant says:

O God, the creator of all things,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you have given the universe its beauty
and fashioned us in your own image.

R. Bless and purify your Church.

O Christ the Lord, from your pierced side
you gave us your sacraments
as fountains of salvation.

R. Bless and purify your Church.

O Holy Spirit, giver of life,
from the baptismal font of the Church
you have formed us into a new creation
in the waters of rebirth.

R. Bless and purify your Church.

1399  After the prayer of blessing, the celebrant sprinkles those present with holy water, as a suitable song is sung; as circumstances suggest, he may first say the following words.

Let this water call to mind our baptism into Christ,
who has redeemed us by his death and resurrection.

R. Amen.

1395  Alternate Readings

Isaiah 12:1-6
You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

On that day, you will say:
I give you thanks, O Lord;
   though you have been angry with me,
   your anger has abated, and you have consoled me.
God indeed is my salvation;
   I am confident and unafraid.
For the Lord is my strength and my might,
   and he has been my salvation.
With joy you will draw water
   from the fountains of salvation,
And you will say on that day:
   give thanks to the Lord, acclaim his name;
Among the nations make known his deeds,
   proclaim how exalted is his name.
Sing praise to the Lord for he has done glorious things;
   let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, City of Zion,
   for great in your midst
   is the Holy One of Israel!

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Isaiah 55:1-11
Oh, come to the water, all you who are thirsty.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

All you who are thirsty,
   come to the water!
You who have no money,
   come, buy grain and eat;
Come, buy grain without money,
   wine and milk without cost!
Why spend your money for what is not bread;
   your wages for what does not satisfy?
Only listen to me, and you shall eat well,
   you shall delight in rich fare.
Pay attention and come to me;
   listen, that you may have life.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
   the steadfast loyalty promised to David.
As I made him a witness to peoples,
   a leader and commander of peoples,
So shall you summon a nation you knew not,
   and a nation that knew you not shall run to you,
Because of the Lord, your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you.
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
   call upon him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their way,
   and sinners their thoughts;
Let them turn to the Lord to find mercy;
   to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   nor are your ways my ways.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways,
   my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Yet just as from the heavens
   the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
   till they have watered the earth,
   making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
   and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
   that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me empty,
   but shall do what pleases me,
   achieving the end for which I sent it.

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Sirach 15:1-6
She will give him the water of wisdom to drink.

A reading from the Book of Sirach

Whoever fears the Lord will do this;
   whoever is practiced in the Law will come to Wisdom.
She will meet him like a mother;
   like a young bride she will receive him,
She will feed him with the bread of learning,
   and give him the water of understanding to drink.
He will lean upon her and not fall;
   he will trust in her and not be put to shame.
She will exalt him above his neighbors,
   and in the assembly she will make him eloquent.
Joy and gladness he will find,
   and an everlasting name he will inherit,

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1 John 5:1-6
Jesus Christ came by water and blood.

A reading from the first Letter of Saint John

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ
   is begotten by God,
   and everyone who loves the father
   loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
   when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
   that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
   for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
   but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is the one who came through water and blood,
Jesus Christ, not by water alone,but by water and blood.
The Spirit is the one that testifies,
   and the Spirit is truth

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Revelation 7:13-17
The Lamb will lead them to the springs of living water.

A reading from the Book of Revelation

Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me,
“Who are these wearing white robes,
   and where did they come from?”
I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.”
He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
   they have washed their robes
   and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“For this reason they stand before God’s throne
   and worship him day and night in his temple.
The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.
They will not hunger or thirst anymore,
   nor will the sun or any heat strike them.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them
   and lead them to springs of life-giving water,
   and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

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Revelation 22:1-5
The river of life, rising from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

A reading from the Book of Revelation

Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water,
   sparkling like crystal,
   flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
   down the middle of its street.
On either side of the river grew the tree of life
   that produces fruit twelve times a year,
   once each month;
   the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.
Nothing accursed will be found there anymore.
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it,
   and his servants will worship him.
They will look upon his face,
   and his name will be on their foreheads.
Night will be no more,
   nor will they need light from lamp or sun,
   for the Lord God shall give them light,
   and they shall reign forever and ever.

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John 13:3-15
You too are clean.

A reading from the holy gospel according to John

Jesus, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
   and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
   rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet
   and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
   but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you,
   you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet,
   but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
   for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
   for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on
   and reclined at table again, he said to them,
“Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’
   and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
   you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
   so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

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