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State Chaplain 2019 - 2020

Picture of Rev Kenney St. Hilaire

Rev Kenneth St. Hilaire

January 2020

Merry Christmas and a blessed new year to you and your families!

We find ourselves in the Christmas season still, looking forward to the Solemnity of the Epiphany (January 5) and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (January 12).

You may already be familiar with the tradition of blessing homes on Epiphany, but in case you have never heard of it, I’d like to familiarize you with this custom and provide a guide to the simple ritual so that you can carry out the blessing in your own homes this Epiphany.

Traditionally, a priest would visit the home and administer the blessing, but with increased numbers of the faithful and decreased numbers of priests, priests may not be as available for this blessing as they once were. The ritual can be carried out by the head of the household.

Some priests today may still carry out the Epiphany blessing of chalk so the faithful can take it home and perform the blessing on their own. If this is not your pastor’s custom, it never hurts to ask him if he would be willing to bless some chalk that you provide.

The principal sign of the blessing is the marking of the lintel (above the door) or front door with symbols, which I will explain below. Thus, there is biblical precedent for this blessing. Remember? The Israelites marked their lintels with the blood of the Passover lamb in order to preserve everyone in their household from the Angel of Death.

Some also claim that the blessing is done on the Epiphany to recall the hospitality of the Holy Family toward the Magi, leading us to open our homes to welcome the presence of God in the coming year.

The ritual concludes with the marking of the lintel or the front door itself with symbolic letters and numbers. This year, the symbol would look like this: 20 + C + M + B + 20

The crosses symbolize Christ, of course, and the numerals indicate the calendar year (2020). The letters C, M, and B are indicative of the three traditional names of the Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Bathazar. They also symbolize the prayer Christus mansionem benedicat, or May Christ bless this home.

The beginning of the year is a very appropriate time to bless or renew the blessing of our homes. It’s a great reminder of our dedication to the Lord, and it can also serve as a public sign (for anyone who comes to our door) of our Catholic faith.

I encourage you to use the provided ritual, whether a priest can be there or not, and let the Epiphany blessing become a new tradition in your family.

Thank you for all you do for the Church and for all those in need. May God bless you and your families in these holy days of Christmas.

Home Blessing for the Feast of Epiphany (January 5th)                                                   

[Upon entering the house [or at the front door]:

Priest/Leader: Peace be to this house.

All: And to all who dwell herein.

Priest/Leader: 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.

During the following prayer, the principal room is sprinkled with holy water.

All: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior

for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy,

the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.

After this is completed, all say: 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.

Priest/Leader: Our Father Who art in Heaven .......... and lead us not into temptation,

All: But deliver us from evil.

Priest/Leader: All they from Saba shall come

All: Bringing gold and frankincense.

Priest/Leader: O Lord, hear my prayer.

All: And let my cry come unto Thee.

Priest/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.

Priest/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.

Priest/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, walk through the house and bless each room by sprinkling with holy water. Then write the symbol on the lintel or the door: 20 + C + M + B + 20

Vivat Jesus!

Fr. Kenneth St. Hilaire
State Chaplain