Prayers and Blessed Chalk for the Feast of the Epiphany
January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany, one of the oldest Christian feasts. The word “Epiphany” comes from the Greek and means “manifestation from above.” Also known as Three Kings’ Day, it commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child soon after His birth and celebrates His physical manifestation to the Gentiles.
Marking doorways or front porch steps with blessed chalk is a centuries-old Epiphany custom and a fun, visible way to dedicate your home and the New Year to God.
The inscription we make this year is:
20 + C + M + B + 19
The “20” and “19” stand for the current year (2019). The plus signs represent the Cross of Christ. The CMB are the first initials of the traditional names given to the Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar). They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat– “May Christ bless the house.”
To mark your home, you will need two things: Chalk that has been blessed by a priest and a prayer. We have small bags of blessed chalk for you and your family at the back of the Basilica this weekend. Please take a bag home with you after Mass so you can bless your home!
As you prepare to mark the front door or porch, say the following:
The Three Wise Men, Casper, Melchior and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and nineteen years ago. May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the New Year. Amen.
Then as you make the marks, offer the following prayer:
Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love. Grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May be grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you. Guide, comfort and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.