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Friday 14 August 2020

The final preparation is of the water that is used first in the rite — a special kind of holy water called Gregorian water. Normal holy water consists of salt and water that are both exorcised and blessed before being mixed together. Gregorian water contains ashes and wine as well. These ingredients recall those used by Moses in the consecration of the tabernacle in the wilderness (the wine serves as a substitute for animal blood). The water is named after Pope St Gregory the Great, who ordered it to be used in consecration of churches and altars. The final prayer of the blessing reads:

Almighty, ever-living God, creator and preserver of the human race, giver of spiritual grace, and bestower of eternal salvation, send your Holy Spirit upon this water mixed with wine, salt and ash; that, armed with the power of heaven for our defence, it may bring about the consecration of this altar. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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