EpiphanyHouseBlessingCrop

On Sunday, January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, after the 12:30 Mass Canon Ueda will bless chalk and distribute it so the head of each household can follow the tradition of blessing the home by marking the door lintel or the riser on the top front step with: 20 + C + M + B + 19. Epiphany water that will be blessed on January 5 will also be available on Sunday to take home with the chalk for the house blessing, and the faithful are encouraged to use the Epiphany water for blessing the family and the sick throughout the year.

More about the significance of Epiphany and the custom of blessing the house on that day:

January 6 is the day after the 12th day of Christmas, and it is called the Feast of the Magi.  It is a day that is also overlaid with many other names and much history and tradition.

The Feast of the Magi has also been called the Feast of the Wise Men, Three Kings Day, Epiphany, and the Manifestation of Christ. The  Church celebrates the feast of the Manifestation of Christ to commemorate not only the visit of the Wise Men, but also Jesus’ baptism at which a miraculous voice from Heaven said “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, “ and the Wedding at Cana, where for the first time Jesus performed a public miracle when He changed water into wine. All of these events were manifestations of Christ in that they revealed who He really is.

The visit of the Magi taken by itself is an indication of Christ’s universality. His birth was revealed at first to shepherds in Israel, at a time when the Jewish people were eagerly expecting the Messiah predicted by the prophets. But the Magi shows us that His coming had also been foretold to seekers for truth in other lands. The Magi read the miraculous Star of Bethlehem as a sign of the coming of a great king and came to worship Him, and so their feast is particularly remembered as Christ’s revelation to Gentiles.

When Pope Benedict XVI visited the Cologne Cathedral in 2007, he venerated the relics of the Three Wise Men that are traditionally believed to be there. Tradition also has it that the Three Wise Men wandered through Bavaria, and so a charming custom developed there and spread to other countries: Catholics take chalk that is blessed on either 12th night, January 5, or on the Feast of Epiphany, and they mark the door lintels of their homes with the year, four crosses, and the initials KMB, for the names of the Three Wise Men, Kaspar, Melchior and Balthasar (or C for Caspar instead of Kaspar). This marking on the door lintels is to let the Magi know that they will find Christ and a welcome in the home if they pass by again.

This simple prayer may be prayed while chalking the 20 C + M + B 19: “May all who come to our house this year rejoice to find Jesus living among us, and may we seek and serve Christ in everyone we meet! Amen.” Or this longer prayer may be used.

EpiphanyHouseBlessingCard