20+C+M+B+15 At St Chrysostom’s we love to follow the Christian tradition of blessing homes at the start of the year.
We celebrate the Wise Men (the Magi) coming to the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph at EPIPHANY. We pray for God’s blessing on our homes.
This year we’ve an extra blessing too. At the end of the Epiphany Mass Ethiopian crosses were blessed. The crosses are a gift from Abate who worships with us and comes from Ethiopia. Returning from a recent visit to his home town of Goba in southern Ethiopia he brought crosses as gifts to church members. People took a cross home to hang as a sign of blessing, and say a prayer for blessing of their home. Crosses were also set aside for the housebound. We want to extend the blessings and so during the days of January a leaflet with a prayer for blessing of a home will be distributed around the homes of our parish.
Chalk too was blessed at Mass for those who like to follow the tradition of marking the door with chalk.
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 + 15 are made, or (20+K+M+B+15).
20 and 15 being the year, C (K), M, B being the initials 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, visit this home and bless it. May there be no evil here. Let your holy angels dwell here and keep all who live here in peace. May you bless us, and all whom we love, today and for evermore. Amen.
We are delighted that in previous years this custom has also spread and 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.