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Chalking the Door: an Epiphany Tradition – Blessing of Chalk at all Masses January 6th

Chalking the Door: an Epiphany Tradition

This short ritual, usually performed on the Feast of the Epiphany, is a way of marking our home with sacred signs and symbols as we ask God’s blessing upon those who live, work, or visit throughout the coming year.

The tradition has its roots in Sacred Scripture.  In Exodus, the Israelites marked their doors with blood so that the Lord would pass over their homes; we mark our doors with chalk as a sign that we have invited God’s presence and blessing into our homes.  In Deuteronomy God tells the people of Israel, “These words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house…You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Chalking our door is a tangible way to honor God, and to remind ourselves to Whom we belong.

20 + C + M +B + 19

The first and last numbers refer to the current year.  The letters C, M, B are the traditional names given to the three kings: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.  Some suggest the letters may also stand for “Christus Mansionem Benedict” which means, “May Christ bless this dwelling.”

On the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th, we will have the Blessing of the Chalk at all Masses.  At the conclusion of Mass, we encourage you to take a piece of blessed chalk home and celebrate this simple liturgy with your family.  Instructions, including prayers will be provided as an insert in the bulletin that weekend.