Why holy water?

Q. Where did the practice of blessing ourselves with Holy Water upon entering Church come from? In my parish they put sand in the stoops.

K.J., Biloxi, Miss.

A. Here’s a reply from Msgr. Charles Pope: 

In the ancient Church, one usually entered the sanctuary through the baptistery and the custom of blessing oneself with the water naturally took up as a reminder of baptism. In later centuries, as church buildings grew larger and doors multiplied, small fonts were placed near those doors and the tradition continued.

The practice of placing sand in the fonts for Lent is a tired aberration and not prescribed by any norms. At no point in the liturgical year is it appropriate to cease remembering our baptism.