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Catholic Prayer: Book of Blessings: Annual Blessing of Families in their Own Homes

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68 Pastors must regard as one of their primary pastoral duties the faithful visitation of families to bring the message of Christ's peace. They will thus obey the command of Christ to his disciples: "On entering any house, first say: ‘Peace to this house’" (Luke 10:5).

69 Pastors and their assistants must therefore consider as a sacred trust the custom of an annual visit, particularly during the Easter season, to the families living in their parish. The occasion is a rich opportunity to fulfill pastoral responsibilities that grow in effectiveness the more the priests come to know the families.

70 The order for the annual blessing of families in their homes directly pertains to the family and therefore requires the presence of the family members.

71 No house is to be blessed unless the residents are present.

72 The present order may be used by a priest or deacon.

73 Normally the blessing is celebrated in each individual home. But for pastoral reasons and in the interest of increased unity between families living in the same building or locale, the blessing may be celebrated for several families gathered together in one convenient place. The text of the prayer of blessing is then adapted accordingly.

74 While maintaining the structure and chief elements of the rite, the celebrant should adapt the celebration to the circumstances of the place and the families. involved. The celebrant's manner of presiding at the celebration should manifest the attentive concern of charity toward all present, particularly the young, the elderly, and the sick.

Prayer:

ORDER OF BLESSING

INTRODUCTORY RITES

75 When the community has gathered, the celebrant greets those present in the following or other suitable words, taken mainly from sacred Scripture. Peace be with this house and with all who live here.

Or: The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

All make the following or some other suitable reply. And also with you.

76 In the following or similar words, which should always be adapted to suit the particular situation, the celebrant prepares those present for the blessing.

The purpose of the parish visit is that through the ministry of the priest (deacon) Christ may enter your home to bring you peace and joy. This happens above all through the reading of the word of God and the prayer of the Church.

Let us, then, prepare ourselves inwardly, so that, through the Holy Spirit, Christ himself will speak to us in this celebration and bring us the comfort of his presence.

READING OF THE WORD OF GOD

77 One of those present or the celebrant reads a text of sacred Scripture, taken preferably from those indicated here. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the holy gospel according to Matthew:

7:24-28 A house built on rock. Jesus said to his disciples: "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined."

When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching.

78 Or: Ephesians 4:1-6--Bear with one another lovingly. Colossians 3:12-25--Over all these virtues put on love. Acts 2:44-47--In their homes they broke bread. With exultant and sincere hearts they took their meals in common. Luke 19:1-10--Today salvation has come to this house. John 1:35-39--They stayed with him that day.

79 As circumstances suggest, one of the following responsorial psalms may be sung or said, or some other suitable song.

R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.

Psalm 100 Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song. R.

Know that the LORD is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends. R.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; Give thanks to him; bless his name. R.

For he is good: the LORD, whose kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness, to all generations. R.

Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-6a R. (4) See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.

Psalm 148:1-2, 3-4, 12-13 R. (13a) Let all praise the name of the Lord.

80 As circumstances suggest, the celebrant may give those present a brief explanation of the biblical text, so that they may understand through faith the meaning of the celebration.

INTERCESSIONS

81 The intercessions are then said. The celebrant introduces them and an assisting minister or one of those present announces the intentions. From the following intentions those best suited to the occasion may be used or adapted, or other intentions that apply to the particular circumstances may be composed.

During the Easter season

The celebrant says: My brothers and sisters, these are the days of our Easter gladness. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the risen Christ, whom the Father has made the beginning and foundation of our communion with each other. Calling on his name, let us say to him:

R. Lord, stay with us.

Or: R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister: Lord Jesus Christ, after the resurrection you appeared to your disciples and gladdened them with the gift of your peace; make this family aware of your presence and help them to strive to remain close to you in the serenity of your peace. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You reached the glory of the resurrection through the humiliation of your passion; teach all the members of this family how to use even their daily trials to build up a household of love. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: While you were at table with the disciples you showed yourself to them through the breaking of the bread; as the members of this family share in the eucharist with the Christian community, make them strong in faith and eager witnesses before the world to their faith in you. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: With the power of the Holy Spirit you filled the house where the disciples were gathered; send the same Holy Spirit upon this family with the gifts of peace and joy. (For this we pray:) R.

82 Or:

Outside the Easter season

The celebrant says: My brothers and sisters, as we ask the blessing of the Lord on this family, we must remember that a way of life that is a true communion can only endure and grow if the Lord is its source. Let us therefore call upon him, saying:

R. Lord, make us holy.

Or: R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister: Lord Jesus Christ, through whom every family is like a building constructed by the Holy Spirit to become a temple of your glory, grant that this family of yours may be bonded together in your name. May you be the unshakeable foundation of their life together. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: With Mary and Joseph you sanctified domestic life; teach all who live here that self-giving is the way to guide and uphold their life as a family. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: Through Christian initiation you have joined the natural family to a larger spiritual family, the Church; help the members of this family to carry out faithfully their responsibility in your Church. (For this we pray:) R.

Assisting minister: You gathered the first members of the Church together in the upper room around Mary your mother; grant that the members of this household Church may learn from her to keep your words in their hearts, to be constant in prayer, and to be generous in giving of themselves and of all they possess to others. (For this we pray:) R.

83 After the intercessions the celebrant, in the following or similar words, invites all present to sing or say the Lord's Prayer: Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior taught us:

All: Our Father . . .

PRAYER OF BLESSING

84 With hands outstretched over the family members, the celebrant continues with the prayer of blessing.

During the Easter season

Blessed are you, 0 Lord. In the Passover of the Old Testament you kept unharmed the houses of your people that were sprinkled with the blood of a lamb. The fulfillment of your signs is the true paschal lamb, the Son you gave to us. He was crucified for us and raised from the dead, so that we might all be filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. Bless + this family and this home, so that the joy of your love may gladden the hearts of all who live here.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

85 Or:

Outside the Easter season

Almighty and eternal God, your fatherly tenderness never ceases to provide for our needs. We ask you to bestow on this family and this home the riches of your + blessing. With the gift of your grace sanctify those who live here, so that, faithful to your commandments, they will care for each other, ennoble this world by their lives, and reach the home you have prepared for them in heaven.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

86 Or:

Blessed are you, God our Father, for your gift of this house as the dwelling place of this family. Grant that those who live here may obtain the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Through their works of charity let them show what grace your + blessing brings, so that all who visit this home will find the spirit of love and peace which only you can give.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

87 After the prayer of blessing, the celebrant sprinkles those present and the home with holy water and, as circumstances suggest, may say:

Let this water call to mind our baptism into Christ, who has redeemed us by his death and resurrection.

CONCLUDING RITE

88 The celebrant concludes the rite by saying:

May the God of hope fill you with every joy in believing. May the peace of Christ abound in your hearts. May the Holy Spirit enrich you with his gifts, now and for ever.

R. Amen.

89 It is preferable to end the celebration with a suitable song.

Prayer Source: Book of Blessings by Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops' Conferences, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1989
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