Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Word of the Day -- Aspergillum

An aspergillum (less commonly, aspergilium or aspergil) is a liturgical implement used to sprinkle holy water. It comes in two common forms: a brush that is dipped in the water and shaken, and a perforated ball at the end of a short handle. Some have sponges or internal reservoirs that dispense holy water when shaken, while others must periodically be dipped in an aspersorium (holy water bucket, known to art historians as a situla).

An aspergillum is used in Roman Catholic and Anglican ceremonies, including the Rite of Baptism and during the Easter Season. In addition, a priest will use the aspergillum to bless the candles during candlemas services and the palms during Palm Sunday Mass. At a requiem, if a coffin is present, the priest will sprinkle holy water on the coffin. The aspergillum can be used in other manners where sprinkling of holy water is appropriate, as in a house blessing, in which the priest might bless the entry to the home. The name derives from the Latin verb aspergere 'to sprinkle'.

No comments: