Sunday, January 3, 2021

Saying goodbye (more like good riddance!) to one of the most trying years we faced with a worldwide pandemic, let us welcome 2021 by welcoming God into our homes in a very special, unique way. This year we invite you to take part in an old tradition of “chalking the door” to celebrate the Epiphany, the day that marks the arrival of the magi, to the place where Jesus was born! The Epiphany will be celebrated on Sunday, January 3 as the 12th day of Christmas. All you need are the prayers (see below), chalk and holy water for your own celebration!

What is “Chalking the Door”?

“Chalking the door” is a sign and symbol of asking God’s blessing upon those who live, work or visit throughout the coming year. In Exodus, the Israelites marked their doors with blood so that the Lord would pass over their homes; but in this service, we mark our doors with chalk as a sign that we have invited God’s presence and blessing into our homes.

In Deuteronomy 6:9, 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 the door is a tangible way to honor God in our lives.

How to Participate

  1. Using chalk, write on the outside of house or inside above the front main entrance, above or next to an entrance: +20 Christus Mansionem Benedicat 21+ or  +20 C M B 21+
  2. Pray (and sprinkle the entrance with holy water): 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, kindess 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.

+20 C M B 21+

The letters C M B come from the traditional names for the three kings, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar. It is also an abbreviation for “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” which means, “May Christ bless this dwelling”! The first and last numbers simply refer to the current year.

Here are some suggestions for a more meaningful virtual participation of the liturgy created by a Paulist priest:

As we consider what it might mean to celebrate the Eucharist virtually, it is important also to reflect deeply on what being present to one another in virtual spaces actually means. Just as it’s possible to be in close physical proximity with others while simultaneously being absent mentally or spiritually, it’s also possible to be virtually present to one another in profound, meaningful, and real ways even when we’re physically distant. The following suggestions are ways to help us celebrate in this new paradigm in our “home” sanctuaries:

  • Read the scripture for the upcoming celebrations beforehand. You can easily access all readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website. www.usccb.org/bible. You can also access the readings on apps such as Laudate and MyParish App. Readings are also listed in the bulletin each week.
  • Create a setting for the celebration. For example, use your dining table as the place from which you participate. Light a candle. Have a cross, crucifix, or religious icon on hand. If you are fortunate to be with others, have a loaf of bread that can be broken at the time of communion.
  • Observe familiar postures. Standing and sitting at appropriate times throughout the celebration can enhance our prayer. (See Catholic Apologist Gus Lloyd’s explanation of “Catholic Calesthenics” HERE.)
  • Remove distractions. Turn off cell phones (unless of course that is your source of participating) and refrain from snacking.
  • Dress up. Sleepwear *probably* isn’t the most appropriate attire for church!

Soon we will come back together to celebrate the Eucharist at the Lord’s table at Assumption!

Looking for something to do with the kids while they’re off during this crazy Corona time? Look no further than your kitchen! These treats can be made any time of the year so watch, enjoy and have fun making these cute snacks and desserts. Food? $20 Electricity? $2 Time spent with kids? PRICELESS.