Epiphany of the Lord
Today the Catholic Church observes the feast of Epiphany of the Lord. The traditional date of Epiphany is January 6, but in the United States, it is celebrated on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. The word “Epiphany” means, “manifestation.” Jesus is manifest as more than just the King of the Jews but as the king of all the nations. Saint Matthew saw ancient prophecies being fulfilled by the visit of the magi, who represent the pagan nations. Even though the liturgical celebration of the Epiphany is transferred to Sunday, there is no reason we cannot also celebrate it on its proper day, January 6th.
The custom of blessing homes while recalling the visit of the magi is followed in most old-world countries. The family gathers. Candles are lit. It is most appropriate to gather around the Advent wreath, in which white candles have replaced the purple ones. But other white, unscented candles may be lit if they family does not have an Advent wreath.
Blessing of the Home & Household on Epiphany
The leader (usually the father or mother) begins:
Peace be with this house and with all who live here. Blessed be the name of the Lord! During these days of the Christmas season, we keep this feast of Epiphany, celebrating the manifestation of Christ to the magi. Today Christ is manifest to us! Today this home is a holy place.
Let us Pray...
Father, we give you special thanks on this festival of the Epiphany, for leading the magi from afar to the home of Christ, who has given light and hope to all peoples. By the power of the guiding spirit, may his presence be renewed in our home.
Make it a place of human wholeness and divine holiness: a place of joy and laughter, a place of forgiveness and peace, a place of prayer; service, and discipleship.
The leader takes the blessed chalk and marks the lintel, the doorframe above the door, of the main exit door of the house as follows:
20 + C + M + B + 21
(The last two digits of the current year)
(The traditional markings of “CMB” refer to the names of the three Wise Men who visited the Holy Family at the Nativity, whom tradition identifies as Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, who gifted the infant Jesus with gold, frankincense and myrrh.)
The prayer below is said during the marking by another family member, such as the other parent or a child.
Loving God, as we mark this lintel, send the angel of mercy to guard our home and repel all powers of darkness. Fill those of us living here with a love for each other, and warm us with the fullness of your presence and love.
After the lintel has been marked, the leader prays:
Lord our God, you reveled your only begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless now this household with health, goodness of heart, gentleness, and the keeping of your law of love. May all who dwell here, or visit this dwelling with their presence, find the joy and thoughtfulness of Mary, the God bearer, and thus praise and thank you eternally together with Jesus, the light of the nations, in the unity of the Holy Spirit and the Church, now and forever.
All respond: Amen
All join hands and pray together the Our Father. The leader then invites all to share a sign of peace. Other doors may be marked by family members, especially the doors of the children’s bedrooms. The family may continue the celebration by sharing a special meal together.
For a printable prayer card of the Blessing of the Home & Household on Epiphany, click Here.
Resources from: The Catholic All Year Compendium, by: Kendra Tierney; Saints and Feast Days; Sadlier; Sophia Institute; Detroit Catholic