The custom of the priest visiting parishioners’ homes (and/or businesses) to bless them with the “Jordan Water” from Theophany has continued for many hundreds of years. In our parish we value this great opportunity and gladly come to visit as many parishioners as possible during this season.
Think about it. The home is a type of school. The first few years of our lives, which are spent almost entirely in the home, are the most formative years of life. In a real sense, the home is a school. Things are constantly being taught there. Parents and others in the household teach by what they are and how they live every day. It is the most important of schools, because values, attitudes, a way of life are taught there all the time.
In a real sense, the home is also a church. Prayers are said there. God is worshiped there. Most homes have a Bible and prayer books. There is an altar in the home – the dining table. There we bless our daily food and eat it. This food becomes our body and blood – our tissues of life, constantly renewed and replaced.
There are people, Christians, in the home, just as in church. Most homes have a cross and icons; many have candles. Most Christians pray at home, in the morning and in the evening. If they have sinned, they ask for God’s forgiveness. Certainly religion is not something found only in church. It is found in the home, too. This is why the Church brings the blessing of Theophany into the home. Just as the home is an extension of the church, this blessing of the home is an extension of the service of blessing that began in the church. So let our homes be Christian places. Let them show our faith, with icons and candles and prayers and Christian living. Above all, let them be places where the presence of Christ is felt day by day. Let them be places of light, of love, of refuge from the darkness of this world.
The above was written by Rev. Fr. James Graham, Pastor of Saint Elias the Prophet Melkite Greek Catholic Mission, San Jose, CA. The article appeared in THE VOICE OF THE PROPHET, News from St Elias the Prophet Melkite Greek Catholic Mission, Volume 8, Number 1, January 2002
Both Fr. Mark and Fr. Bo are making themselves available to come to your home to bless it. If you would like to have one of them come: simply contact that priest directly, via email or phone, and set up an appointment (note: this is NOT being scheduled through the parish office). It also lets the Padres get to know you and your family on your turf.
Fr. Mark’s phone 403-249-4818 extension 201
Fr. Mark’s email: frmarkbayrock [at] mac [dot] com
Fr. Bo’s phone 403-249-4818 extension 202
Fr. Bo’s email: fr [dot] bo [at] telus [dot] net
Some tips for when the priest comes to bless your home:
- When he arrives, have everyone in the home gather around the kitchen / dining table and join in the prayers. The priest will set up his blessing items there.
- Please turn off your TVs, stereos, cell phones and computers.
- On your dining room table, if you have one, place a lighted candle and, if you have, an icon of Christ. (If you don’t have one, don’t worry.)
- If you have any religious items such as bibles, icons, rosaries or crosses that you would like to have blessed place them on the table too.
- Make a list of the first names of those family members you wish to pray for, with the living and the deceased in separate columns.
- Don’t fuss too much with cleaning (all houses should looked lived in).
- Pets may be blessed, too! We love pets and are happy to have them around. However, if they will constantly bark, jump up, or if they may bite, then perhaps you should secure them.
- House blessings are also a great opportunity for you to get to know your priest and vice-versa. If time permits, after the blessing, offer a glass of water, tea or juice (Fr. Mark drinks coffee, Fr. Bo does not) and get to know each other better.