Q. 1. Does the Catholic Church still practice the blessing of a home? It has been years since I have heard of this practice.
A. 1. Yes, the blessing of homes is still practiced in the Catholic Church.
In the Catholic Church, this tradition is usually performed by a parish priest who sprinkles holy water as he walks through every room of the house, accompanied by the occupants of the house, whilst praying for the occupants.
The blessing of houses dates back to the early days of Christianity. In the Catholic Church, the ritual takes the form of a prayer. In Matthew 2:11, it says:
"On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."
Consequently, Catholics often have their homes blessed at Epiphany, on January 6. This date commemorates the visitation of the Magi to the child Jesus.
The blessing of homes takes place on the following occassions:
• the annual blessing of the home on Epiphany (in January),
• for newly constructed home (if the residents are present),
• for new residence (moving into a new place).
In thanksgiving to the priest, you may wish to ask him to stay for dinner or give him a donation as a gratuity for his time and effort.