There is a long tradition in the Catholic faith of a blessing of houses on or around the feast of the Epiphany using blessed chalk. It is more common in Europe than in the United States, however this practice is growing. It is a way to offer a blessing for each person who passes through the door in the the household, just as the magi were welcomed into the manger. The tradition of using chalk had perhaps begun as a symbol of the frankincense incense brought by the magi for the child Jesus. You can use the chalk that you receive at mass to perform this blessing. NB: The chalk is blessed and thus should not be used for decorations on the sidewalk, but rather, just as with any blessed item, it should either be buried or burned for proper disposal.
Here’s a suggested format for the blessing:
(All make the Sign of the Cross)
Leader: “Peace be to this house and to all who dwell here, in the name of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.
Reader: When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
The word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God (Using chalk, write on the outside of your house or inside above the front main entrance, above or next to an entrance on the door frame):
+20 + C + M + B 19+
All: Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who live here and all who visit. May we be blessed with health, kindness of heart, gentleness and the keeping of your law. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our love for each other may go out to all. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Fr Nathan LaLiberte