The Church teaches us to sanctify everything: dwellings, places of work, all our pursuits, and the fruits of our labor. The home blessing at Theophany represents a renewal of our lives in Christ. Washed in the baptismal waters, our homes become temples of the Holy Spirit for the fulfillment of the will of our Heavenly Father. This is why the Church blesses everything that can be found in a Christian home.
After you have scheduled your appointment with the parish priest here is how to prepare for your house blessing:
All who reside in the household should make every effort to be present for the Blessing. We gather in the dining room. On your dining room table or family icon corner, set
A lit candle
A Theophany icon or another icon of Christ
A list of the baptismal names of family members you wish to pray for.
A small bowl (if you need more Holy Water for your home).
A bunch of fresh green basil or other greens bundled together
Make sure your rooms are lit (if at night) and open doors to rooms for ease of entry. Also please remember to turn off your electronic devices.
If you have pets, make sure they become accustomed to the visitors so they don’t bark or jump up during the service. We encourage you to have your pets blessed, too.
When the priest arrives everyone in the house should gather around the table/family altar and join in prayer and singing.
If there are children, they usually carry the icon and a candle to lead the priest from room to room. If not the head of the household will lead the priest.
After the blessing we all gather back around the icon for the concluding prayers.
Although parishioners often wish for the priest to stay for dinner or supper after the blessing of their home, it is necessary to remember that the priest may be blessing several homes in one day and cannot physically eat several dinners and/or suppers in a row. Do not be offended if the priest must hurry away to another home. If you want the priest to spend more time with you please coordinate in advance that the priest is able to stay for fellowship.
When a priest visits, there is a pious custom in some places that the family makes a donation to the priest for gas and other expenses. This is appreciated, but it should not be thought of as a requirement. The scripture tells us “Freely you have received, freely give”. The priest comes to the home because he wants God’s blessing to be upon it, to know those in his flock better, and to be available to them.