Ordained clerics lead most ceremonies for blessing Catholic homes.
Ordained clerics lead most ceremonies for blessing Catholic homes.

The ancient treasury of Roman Catholic ritual provides many options for blessing and purifying a home in almost any situation. Typically these blessing ceremonies are led by ordained clerics such as the bishop of the diocese or a priest or deacon from the local parish. In some cases, lay people participate in the ritual involved or even lead the blessing independently.

Blessing Of A New Home

Catholics often wish to have new homes blessed by a priest. This applies to previously owned homes as well. As with sacraments and other catholic rituals, there are introductory rites which begin with all present making the sign of the cross. Then the priest or deacon will read from scripture before all take part in intoning the intercessions which ask the Holy Spirit to inhabit the home. Finally, the priest or deacon blesses the home with hands outstretched. If necessary, a lay minister may carry out many of these duties, with some changes to gesture and wording.

Epiphany Blessing

During the feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, Catholics may ask their priest to bless chalk that they have set aside for a special blessing of their home. When the family returns from mass, all make the sign of the cross and the head of the household leads a prayer of peace for the house and someone reads from from the Gospel of John. Then a family member uses chalk to write the first two digits of the new year above the main entrance. Then come the words "Christus Mansionem Benedicat," which is Latin for Christ bless this house. Finally, the last two digits of the new year are written.

Blessing Of A Bedroom

There is a short and simple prayer to simply bless a bedroom. It may be conducted by a priest, deacon or a lay minister. Whoever leads the prayer of blessing simply asks for long life and many children for those who sleep there.

Rite of Exorcism

If a situation in a home calls for an exorcism, then Catholics must get assistance from a priest who has permission from the local bishop to perform an exorcism. This is an elaborate ritual not only due to the lengthy prayers but also due to the preparation necessary on the part of all involved. Confession and mass, which should include reception of the eucharist for all taking part in the ceremony, precede the exorcism itself. The priest recites the Litany of Saints before commanding the demons to depart.