The Aspergillum and the Aspersorium

by Kevin May. 03, 2009 2732 views

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).

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 prior to Palm Sunday services. At a requiem, if a casket is present, the priest will sprinkle holy water on the casket. 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’.

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