Epiphany Home Blessing
In the Book of Blessings or Roman Ritual, there is a traditional home blessing, usually done on Epiphany or during the Christmas season. I have written a few times about the traditions of Epiphany, including the Diversity of Epiphany, and how our family celebrates Epiphany. This is a quick reference to celebrating a Home Blessing Ceremony in your home. This Home Blessing Ceremony includes some of the prayers from the Liturgy of the Hours for Epiphany, and the blessings from the older form of the Roman Ritual.
Please Note: When the priest performs the blessings, he is doing them in persona Christi (as the person of Christ). The home blessing can be said by anyone who has been baptized, “in virtue of the universal priesthood, a dignity they possess because of their baptism and confirmation” (Book of Blessings, no. 18), using chalk and holy water (previously blessed by a priest). Having a priest is preferred, but there still graces that flow upon the family and household when the father leads the ceremony. (The chalk does not have to be blessed.) Please see The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1667-1683 for information on blessings and sacramentals.
- Chalk (any color), blessed by a priest (See Blessing of Chalk)
- Holy Water, blessed by a priest (See the Special Blessing of Water for Epiphany, but not required)
- Prayer of Blessing (See Epiphany Home Blessing Ceremony. There is also a pdf file to print)
- Christ Child, enthroned in manger
- Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh
- Epiphany decorations
- crowns and capes for the children
- small containers to present “gifts”
- Clean the lintel of the front entrance door. Some families choose between inscribing the outside or interior lintel. (We choose the interior and use colored chalk to contrast against the white paint.)
- Optional: If children are participating, prepare crowns and capes and other royal attire. Also prepare small containers to present to the Christ Child for each child.
- Optional: The Christ Child enthroned in the manger. Suggestions: a crown, a royal cape, and gold decorations.
- Optional: Decorate the house with regal decorations, especially gold, stars and many lights. It is a royal feast of light.
- If a priest is present, place chalk and the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh on a tray for Father to bless.
Gather around the crib.
Priest or Leader: God’s peace be in this home,
All: And in all who live here.
Priest or Leader: The star burned like a flame, pointing the way to God, the King of kings; the wise men saw the sign and brought their gifts in homage to their great King.
Canticle: The Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55
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 shall 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 has remembered His promise of mercy, the promise He made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.
All: The star burned like a flame, pointing the way to God, the King of kings; the wise men saw the sign and brought their gifts in homage to their great King.
Priest or Leader: Many shall come from Sheba.
All: Bearing gold and incense.
Priest or Leader: O Lord, hear my prayer.
All: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Priest or Leader: Let us pray.
O God, who by the guidance of a star did this day reveal your Only Begotten Son to the Gentiles, grant that we who know You by faith may be brought to the contemplation of the heavenly majesty, through the same Christ, Our Lord.
All: Be enlightened and shine forth, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and upon thee is risen the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.
Priest or Leader: Nations shall walk in your light, and kings in the brilliance of your rising.
All: And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
BLESSING OF CHALK (Optional if priest is present)
Priest: Bless, + O Lord God, this creature, chalk, and let it be a help to mankind. Grant that those who will use it with faith in your most holy name, and with it inscribe on the doors of their homes the names of your saints, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, may through their merits and intercession enjoy health in body and protection of soul; through Christ our Lord.
BLESSING OF GOLD, FRANKINCENSE AND MYRRH (Optional if priest is present)
Priest: Let us pray.
Accept, O holy Father, from me, thine unworthy servant, these gifts which I offer in humility to the honor of thy holy name and to thy peerless majesty, as thou didst accept the sacrifice of the just Abel and the same gifts from the hands of the Magi. Creatures of gold, incense, and myrrh, I purge you of evil by the Father + almighty, by Jesus + Christ, His Sole-Begotten Son, and by the Holy + Spirit, the Paraclete, that freed from all deceit, evil, and cunning of the devil, you may be a saving remedy to men against the snares of the enemy. May those who with confidence use you in their homes or about their persons be delivered from danger to soul and body, rejoicing in the possession of every good; through our Lord and Savior’s power and merits, through the intercession of Mary, most holy Virgin Mother of God, of all saints and of them who on this day venerated Christ, the Lord with these same gifts.
Priest: O God, Who art invisible and without end, in the holy and awesome name of thy Son graciously bestow blessing + power these creatures, gold, incense, and myrrh. Protect those who will have them in your possession from illness, injury, and danger to body and soul, so they can joyously and securely serve thee with zeal in thy Church. who in perfect Trinity livest and reignest God, forever.
Priest: And may the blessing of almighty God, Father, + Son, + and Holy + Spirit, descend upon these creatures gold, incense, and myrrh, and remain for all time.
Priest or Leader: Let us pray. O Lord, Almighty God, bless this house + that it may become a shelter of health, chastity, self-conquest, humility, goodness, mildness, obedience to the commandments, and thanksgiving to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Upon this house and those who dwell herein may Your blessing remain forever, through Christ our Lord.
The father of the family and the three “kings” take blessed chalk (one piece each) and proceed to the front door, accompanied by the priest. While all look on, the father reads the corresponding words as the kings inscribe their initials onto the lintel. (The initials CMB also stand for Christus mansionem benedicat: May Christ bless this house.) Final inscription on lintel should read: 2 0 + C + M + B + 1 8:
The three wise men, Caspar, [Caspar inscribes ‘C’ on lintel] C
Melchior, [Melchior inscribes ‘M’] M
and Balthasar [Balthasar inscribes ‘B’] B
followed the star of God’s Son who became man two thousand [Dad inscribes the ‘2 0’ on left] 2 0
eighteen years ago. [Dad inscribes ‘1 8’ on right] 1 8
May Christ bless our dwelling, [Dad places + after ‘2 0’] +
and remain with us throughout the new year, [ + after ‘C’] +
and grant that our comings and goings [ + after ‘M’] +
will be in search of truth. [ + after ‘B’] +
Priest/Father: Almighty God, incline your ear. May you bless us and all who are gathered here. Send your holy angel who will defend us and fill with grace all who live here.
The father and the “Three Kings” now accompany the priest as he blesses the house with holy water. Everyone sings: We Three Kings of Orient Are
We three Kings of Orient are;
bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain,
moor and mountain
following yonder star.
Refrain: O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
Born a babe on Bethlehem’s plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign. Refrain.
Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Pray’r and praising,
all men raising,
Worship him God most high. Refrain.
Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb. Refrain.
Glorious now, behold Him arise,
King and God sacrifice!
Earth to Heav’n replies. Refrain.
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