In planning and preparing for the Liturgy, it’s good to be mindful that the Roman Missal allows for the substitution of the Sprinkling Rite for the Penitential Act on Sundays throughout the year, but especially at Easter.
The appendix of the Roman Missal puts it like this:
“On Sundays, especially in Easter Time, the blessing and sprinkling of water as a memorial of Baptism may take place from time to time …. If this rite is celebrated during Mass, it takes the place of the usual Penitential Act at the beginning of Mass.”
Beyond Eastertide, there a many other occasions when the theme and readings of the liturgy might suggest a Sprinkling Rite, rather than defaulting to a Penitential Act. The feast of the Baptism of the Lord is an obvious example…
There several antiphons or chants that can be sung as the minister/priest moves through the church sprinkling the people. Of course, these can be substituted by another “appropriate song”.
More often that not, you won’t need a whole song or hymn to cover the duration of the Sprinkling Rite. So thought needs to be given not just to which song is best depending on your context, but also to which verse, refrain or other section of the song is most suitable too.
Listed below (in alphabetical order) are the 6 songs we use most regularly when we need music for a ‘watery ritual moment’:
1. Come to the River (Mass of Glory) – Bob Hurd
2. Grace Like a Wave – Elevation Worship
This anthemic, driving anthem from Elevation Worship’s album, Here As In Heaven hasn’t officially made it into our sprinkling repertoire yet, but it won’t be very long before it does.
When you listen to the full-production studio recording, it’s not immediately obvious how this song could be used in a liturgical context. The more pared-back acoustic version (on YouTube here) reveals the accessibility of the bridge and refrain, with the potential to be sung almost ostinato style.
“There’s healing in the water
With a love that flows so deep
Wash over me, wash over me
Forgiveness in the water
With a love that flows so deep
Wash over me, wash over me…”
LISTEN: Grace Like A Wave (sample)
3. Let the River Flow – Darrell Evans
We use this song whenever we need an upbeat, quickly accessible ‘water song’. There are a ew version and interpretations o this song around. We tend to opt for the pacy, driving version published by OCP’s Spirit and Song – By Request.
The verses can be sung in a call and response style – with the congregation easily drawn into the “let the river flow” response after each lyric couplet. We generally sing “now” instead of “man” in the verses.
“Let the poor now say I am rich in Him
Let the lost now say I am found in Him
O, let the river flow”
LISTEN: Let The River Flow (sample)
4. Springs of Water – Mike Stanley
This song from the late Mike Stanley’s album, Grace, would probably be at the top of our list for use in a typical parish context. Its litany style and lilting refrain make it instantly accessible for a congregation.
We tend to pair the versicles, so that there are two between each refrain (rather that just one, as on the studio recording). It works really well with two cantors who sing versicle each.
“Springs of water bless the Lord,
praise an exalt him above all forever”
5. Sprinkling Rite from the Mass of St Jude
“Water, holy water,
sanctifying, purifying, bringing life.
Water, precious water,
God’s creation, our salvation, desert sign”
6. With Joy You Will Draw Water
This canticle from Isaiah 12 occurs as the responsorial psalm after the fifth reading during the Easter vigil, and is also the responsorial psalm for the feast of the Baptism of the Lord in Year B.
The joyful, bluesy refrain can be sung by the whole assemble, with verses for soloist or cantor.
“With joy you will draw waters
from the wells of salvation”
LISTEN: With Joy You Will Draw Water
Click here to to download PDF melody line and chords.