Epiphany

EPIPHANY IN THE HOME

BLESSING OF THE HOME

>From the altar the blessing of the Church extends itself on Epiphany to the homes of the faithful. The custom of blessing the home probably grew up on account of the words in the Gospel, “And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary, His Mother, and falling down they adored Him.” The priest blesses the house if he can be present, but if not, the father of the family may do so. He leads the family (and any guests who may have been invited for the occasion) from room to room, blessing each and inscribing the initials of the three Magi above the doors with the chalk that has been previously blessed. The chalk blessing is written as follows:

19 + C + M + B + 55

One small boy was so delighted with the ceremony that the first time his home was blessed, he said, “Oh, Daddy, is it all over?”- -and then the bright idea struck–“Couldn’t we bless all the closets, too?”

A full account of the ceremony and prayers in English are given below. When we bless the houses at Grailville, copies are mimeographed for everyone present so that they can join in the prayers and singing. The house blessing for Epiphany is a beautiful custom for families, and also for schools and apostolic groups to revive, because it helps strengthen the bond of union which should exist between altar and home.

THE BLESSING

On entering the home,

LEADER (Priest, if present, or father of the family):

Peace be to this house.

ALL: And to all who dwell herein.

ALL: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

ALL PRAY: The Magnificat.

During the Magnificat, the room is sprinkled with holy water and incensed. After this is completed,

ALL: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

LEADER: Our Father…And lead us not into temptation

ALL: But deliver us from evil.

LEADER: All they from Saba shall come

ALL: Bringing gold and frankincense.

LEADER: O Lord, hear my prayer.

ALL: And let my cry come to You.

LEADER: Let us pray. O God, who by the guidance of a star didst on this day manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we who know Thee by faith may also attain the vision of Thy glorious majesty. Through Christ our Lord.

ALL: Amen.

LEADER: Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee– Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary.

ALL: And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light and kings in the splendor of thy rising, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee.

LEADER: Let us pray. Bless, O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, the strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfillment of Thy law, the thanksgiving to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. And may this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. Through Christ our Lord.

ALL: Amen.

After the prayers of the blessing are recited, each room of the home is sprinkled with Epiphany water and incensed. The initials of the Magi are inscribed upon the doors with the blessed chalk.

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