Extraordinary Form · News

Epiphany — EF Sung Mass & Blessing of Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh, and Chalk

Vénimus adoráre eum, Emmánuel. (Come let us adore him, Emmanuel.)

Join us as we worship the Emmanuel on the feast of his Manifestation this coming Sunday, January 7, 2017.  We will be singing the Extraordinary Form Mass of the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord at 4 p.m. at the Adoration Chapel of the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish (Capitol Parish) church along N. Escario Street, Cebu City.

The Holy Sacrifice will be sung by former Benedictine monk Fr. Clement Covacho, novice master of the Community of Saint John. He will be assisted in music by the Schola Gregoriana of Cebu.

We also invite you to pray with us in Latin the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary at 3:15 p.m. before the Mass.  Immediately after the Mass, please also stay for the praying-singing of Vespers (Evening Prayer) in the Ordinary Form in English.  Bring your copies of the Liturgy of the Hours, if you have them.

Don’t forget to go to Confession beforehand so you can worthily receive Holy Communion.

Blessing of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

We shall also be blessing gold, frankincense, and myrrh — the gifts of the Wise Men from the East. If you have items made of gold (e.g., wedding rings, rosaries, jewelry, etc.), bring them with you to be blessed. Also, if you can aquire some frankincense, it shall also be blessed. Five grains of frankincense will do, so you can use them for your Paschal Candle in Easter. You may also bring myrrh to be blessed if you can get some.  These three items, in the words of Dom Prosper Guéranger, are “tokens of devotedness” that we keep as “pledges of God’s blessings upon [our] houses and families.”

Blessing of Chalk

Afterwards, the priest shall bless chalk.  What is it for?  The blessed chalk will be used for the centuries-old tradition known as the Chalking of Doors. It is not commonly practiced anymore, especially here in the Philippines, but it is an authentic and noteworthy Catholic practice that your household might want to recover.

In this tradition, household members mark their doors, using blessed Epiphany chalk, with the inscription 20 + C + M + B + 18, like this:

(Photo credit: OnePeterFive, 2017)

The letters C, M, and B stand for the initials of the Magi’s names — Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar.   The letters also represent the initials of the Latin prayer Christus mansiónem benedícat (Christ, bless this house).  The crosses, of course, represent Christ, and the numbers 20 and 18 represent the current year.

The inscription as a whole manifests our plea for our Lord to bless the homes bearing such inscription and for Him to stay always with those who live there throughout the whole year. The inscription is traditionally wiped away on Pentecost Sunday. OnePeterFive published an article that explains the tradition of the Chalking of Doors.

The Chalking of Doors is usually done after the blessing of homes on Epiphany Day. The Rituale Romanum (Roman Ritual) has a very beautiful liturgy for the blessing of homes on Epiphany that can be adapted for use by households before performing the Chalking of Doors.

We shall be giving away a limited quantity of blessed Epiphany chalk after Mass, but if you wish to bring your own to be blessed and to give away to family and friends, you may do so.

Let us avail ourselves of these powerful spiritual weapons — these sacramentals — that can greatly assist in our growth in righteousness and holiness, conform us more and more to Christ, and avert the snares of the evil one.  In these days when the practice of the Faith is divorced from secular and daily life, these two traditions can help us in living out and witnessing to the Roman Catholic Faith in all dimensions of our personal and collective lives.

Merry Christmas to all! (Yes, it is still Christmas season. In the Extraordinary Form, Christmas season ends — liturgically — on January 13.)



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