DPPL 152: The Annual Blessing of Family Homes

STA altar at night smallOne of the Easter traditions I have seen attended to in a few places is a blessing of homes during the Easter season. Clergy shouldn’t worry–I don’t think the exercise is particularly draining.

152. The annual blessing of families takes places in their homes during Eastertide – or at other times of the year. This pastoral practice is highly recommended to parish priests and to their assistant priests since it is greatly appreciated by the faithful and affords a precious occasion to recollect God’s constant presence among Christian families. It is also an opportunity to invite the faithful to live according to the Gospel, and to exhort parents and children to preserve and promote the mystery of being “a domestic church”((Cf. Order of Blessings, 68-89).

Supporting the Domestic Church–a good thing to keep in mind as the Church and its bishops attend to issues of marriage and family.

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to DPPL 152: The Annual Blessing of Family Homes

  1. Liam says:

    I would not be surprised if this custom developed from the centuries-long obligations of pastors to take inventory of their flocks and their compliance with their Easter duty. (Of a more pro-active piece with the interrogatory form of confession, which survives in places – for example, I am told confessors at St Peter’s used that form at least into the 1990s; I’ve heard it was not favored in the US because Irish-American priests were worried that the questions could put ideas in the minds of penitents about sins of lust.)

  2. FrMichael says:

    “Clergy shouldn’t worry–I don’t think the exercise is particularly draining.” Once upon a time I did a blessing of doors and families at my parish of 3,000+ families. It basically took the entire year for the three priests and two deacons to do so. Scheduling a pastoral visit is not as easy as one would think.

  3. Melody says:

    I hadn’t heard of the Easter blessing of homes, but around here it used to be the custom to have an Epiphany blessing. The priest would write with chalk above a door, 20+C+M+B+14; the numerals referring to the year, the letters to Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. I don’t know if this was a Polish custom, since our parish has Polish roots. It’s not done so often any more, however in the parish center I notice that the doorway has the chalk inscription.

  4. Katherine says:

    Like Melody, I had not heard of this in connection to Easter, but rather Epiphany. The initials also represent the latin for ‘Christ bless this house’. And suggestions for a family doing the blessing, even without a priest present, go back to the 1950s.

  5. FrMichael says:

    Melody, the relics of the Three Kings are in the Cathedral in Cologne, thus I always associated this blessing with Epiphany and also with Central Europe, not just Poland. Ever since the year-long door-blessing campaign, I mark the doors with the chalk as you mentioned at the start of blessing homes.

    A box of blessed chalk lasts a long time! At this rate I’ll be dead long before I use the chalk up.

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