A reader writes in:
I am looking for some clarity regarding of the issue of the Sprinkling Rite and Renewal of Baptismal Promises at Easter Sunday Masses in relationship to our new translation of the Roman Missal.
In the Easter Sunday Mass of the 1974 Sacramentary, we read in the rubrics immediately after the Liturgy of the Word:
“In Easter Sunday Masses which are celebrated with a congregation [in the United States], the rite of the renewal of baptismal promises is repeated after the homily. The profession of faith is omitted.”
There is then printed the actual text for the renewal of baptismal promises with its introduction and absolution followed by the following rubric:
“The priest sprinkles the people with the blessed water, while all sing: I saw water…”
The rubrics for this rite seem quite clear that this “IS REPEATED AFTER THE HOMILY.” This was my experience at Easter Sunday Masses from my earliest memory.
In reading the new translation of the Missale Romanum for “At the Mass during the Day,” #72 says: “The Creed is said. However, in Easter Sunday Masses which are celebrated with a congregation, the rite of the renewal of baptismal promises may take place after the Homily, according to the text used at the Easter Vigil (p. 382). In that case the creed is omitted.”
In my interpretation, this language makes the action of the renewal of baptismal promises (and presumably sprinkling with water) a weakly suggested option on three counts: 1) The creed is suggested first; 2) The phrase “may take place” sounds pretty optional to me; 3) The language of the rite is not printed, you must refer back to the Easter Vigil. This seems inconvenient at best.
I’m sure that others have noted this. How are pastors and liturgists interpreting and implementing this? Clearly it is still an OPTION that is perfectly legitimate to exercise but…does it make more sense to couple the sprinkling of water with the Penitential Act as can optionally be done on ANY Sunday?
It does appear that the language of the new translation favors the Creed. This makes sense given that the Renewal of Baptismal Promises would have already occurred at the Easter Vigil. The new translation might presuppose that most Catholics attend the Vigil. But since not everyone does, the usage of the Renewal of Baptismal Promises “At the Mass during the Day” should be commended.
As our reader points out, there are two ways to incorporate a baptismal motif into the Mass during the day:
1) Use the sprinkling rite in place of the Penitential Act, or
2) Use the Renewal of Baptismal Promises (with sprinkling rite) in place of the Creed.
I would avoid using the sprinkling rite as it substitutes for the Penitential Act and instead I would use the Renewal of Baptismal Promises. The Renewal of Baptismal Promises is more solemn and explicitly spells out the season’s connection to baptism.
Comment below with your thoughts and tell us what your community does and why.