“Bless you!” At St Chrysostom’s we encourage the lovely tradition of blessing homes at the start of a new year.
Epiphany (usually on or close to the first Sunday of January) celebrates the wise men coming to the home of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. As we celebrate we pray for blessings on our own homes and all those of our parish. Everyone at worship on Epiphany Sunday will be offered a specially designed card with a prayer for our homes. The cards will also be distributed locally. The prayer reads:
Loving God, visit our homes. May there be no evil here. May your holy angels dwell here. And keep all who live here in peace. May you bless us evermore. Amen.
Also at Epiphany chalk is blessed at Mass and people are invited to take some and mark their homes as they say the prayer for blessing. The priests are also very happy to visit homes and do the blessing.
The chalk is used in this way: Using chalk either above the door, outside, or at the side of the door, outside or inside, the markings 20 + C + M + B + 14 are made, or (20+K+M+B).
20 and 14 being the year, C (K), M, B being the intitials of the traditional names of the wise men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, they can also stand for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, the Latin words meaning, May Christ bless this home.
Or you may instead make a simple cross mark with chalk +
These prayers are used in our parish at a blessing of a home:
God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this home and all who live in it. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ who dwells among us. Amen.
Loving God, may all who come to our home this year rejoice to find the love of Christ here; and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, that same Jesus who is your incarnate Word, now and forever. Amen.
We are delighted that in previous years our blessed chalk has been used away from Manchester too and so encouraged the tradition to grow. Where did it get to? See, for example, here and here.
My husband and I saw this blessing on a Catholic church outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have seen it in other areas of NM and understand that it is practiced throughout the area. It is a beautiful custom and I think I will practice it on some of my friends this coming year.
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