Feast days

Growing up my family often did a yearly house blessing. The parish priest did yearly rounds blessing the parish houses. In USA, it seems like the house is only blessed once before moving in and never blessed again. My parents especially liked getting house blessed in January starting the new year with a new clean blessed home.

So when I came across this Epiphany House Blessing tradition few years ago, I was very excited. It is very simple and easy. We use the prayers from Holy Heroes, found here. We got our chalk blessed after Sunday mass and brought back holy water from church. We all gathered by our house entry ways and prayed together. My husband led the prayers and we went through all our rooms with holy water saying prayers of blessings for each room. It was so wonderful and a great tradition for epiphany.

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There’s a beautiful hymn of praise and thanksgiving that’s traditionally, sung on the last day of the year called Te Deum. I had recently learned of the song and was planning to look it up. Today at mass, I was delighted to hear the hymns Te Deum sung at the end of the year and Veni Creator sung at the beginning of the year both have plenary indulgences attached to them. Our priest suggested singing them midnight so you can close the year with Te Deum and begin with Veni Creator together. If you can’t stay up to midnight, just sing Te Deum on 31st anytime and Veni Creator anytime on Jan 1st. It seems that for plenary indulgence, you need to sing it publicly and partial indulgence is granted when devoutly sung otherwise. I emailed our music director about adding these to our masses. These are such beautiful hymns to sing even without the indulgences. It’ll be a great family tradition to sing them together as family.

Growing up my family always went to adoration on New Years eve with our prepared lists of all the blessings we received in the year. We took turns going through them one by one and giving thanks and praise to God for each thing on our lists. Sometimes the lists were made at adoration chapel in the presence of God and went through them at family prayer. Adoration time is also great for new years resolutions with God. Whether you can go to adoration or not, spend some time reflecting on your blessings and close the year singing the hymn of praise and thanksgiving, Te Deum and begin the new year inviting to the Holy Spirit singing Veni Creator.

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This past week, I was privileged to be a part of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Pentecost ceremony for 6 to 9 year olds.  I wanted to share what I saw and found beautiful.  The children were gathered around the prayer table.  The table held a long candle holder that held 7 red tapers of equal height and the Bible.  The catechist solemnly proclaimed the reading from the Bible (Isaiah 11:2).

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, 
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and strength,
the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.

After a short pause, she handed out small paper cards each containing a gift of the spirit with it’s corresponding meaning to seven children.  They were short and simple.

Wisdom  To value what is important
Understanding To see clearly what is stated
Counsel To understand God’s way
Strength To go on even when it’s hard
Piety To humbly delight in the Lord
Knowledge  To learn more deeply about God
Awe of God To recognize God’s greatness

Each child with the card were invited to come up front one at a time and read the name of the gift and it’s meaning to the group.  The catechist pondered with the children what each of them meant.  The catechist lit one of the candles and invited the child to place his/her gift of the spirit card under the lit candle.  It was so beautiful to see the all 7 candles lighting with their corresponding gift cards underneath.  After a moment of pause, every child was called by name to come up one at a time and choose a gift they would like to pray for.  They each received a candle that was lit from the candle with the corresponding gift they chose and placed in front of it.

I enjoyed watching the children as they chose the gift they wanted to receive and ponder on the meaning of each gift.  What a beautiful way to teach the children about the gifts of the spirit and to desire them.  This would be easy to use/adopt in the family especially this week while we are praying to the Holy Spirit for his seven gifts.

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Today, the 41st day of easter, the day after the great feast of Ascension starts our preparation for another great feast, the Pentecost.  Feast days have great graces associated with them.  Pentecost is a great time to ask for the gifts and fruits of the spirit.  Priest at our local church encouraged us all to start the novena today to prepare for Pentecost.  So let’s prepare together for this feast by praying the novena for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Novena to the Holy Spirit



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