Chalking the doors for Epiphany 2020

There is a custom of blessing homes on the Feast of the Epiphany (6 January) when the family gather to ask God’s blessing on their home and family life. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our homes.

Instructions for Blessing the Home – Using the blessed chalk (which many parishes will bless and make available) mark the lintel of your front door as follows:
20 + C + M + B + 20 saying:

The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and nineteen years ago.
May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year.

Then say the following prayer:
Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and for ever. Amen.

The letters have two meanings. First, they represent the initials of the Magi — Caspar, Malchior, and Balthazar — who came to visit Jesus in His first home. They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless the house.”

The “+” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “20” at the end mark the year.

Taken together, this inscription is performed as a request for Christ to bless those homes so marked and that He stay with those who dwell therein throughout the entire year.

Christian Aid Ireland partner in Afghanistan use of radio on women’s issues

Women are cut off. Radio is the only way to find out…there is nowhere else find out about these issues.” 24 yr old listener Zahra speaks of the importance of the radio programme run by our partner Wassa which seeks to educate the public in Afghanistan about women’s issues

An Irish Painter

Norman Garstin (1847-1926) Poppies (n.d.). After formal training Garstin travelled extensively around Europe, before settling in Cornwall where he was a founder of the Newlyn Art Gallery. The Irish painter was born in Limerick and remains exhibited at the likes of Tate Britain

Y is for…York

Yes, of course, it has to be York!

Friends of Cathedral Music made it to Christmas Day! Choristers and Songmen in York, along with choirs up and down the country are on the homeward straight and are looking forward to a break from tomorrow onwards.

In 627AD St Paulinus travelled to the north of England as part of a Roman mission sent to convert Northumbria and he brought James the Deacon, a musician, with him. Paulinus was the first Bishop of York. James’ function was to instruct those who were converted in the singing of the liturgy, and it is generally considered that this was the beginning of the choral tradition of York Minster. By the 16th century, the Minster Choir was much as it is today with trebles and lay adult singers. In 1997 the 20 boy choristers were augmented by 20 girls. The boys and girls share the choral services, singing eight services in total each week. Occasionally for very large services they may combine. The choristers are educated at the Minster School.

On Christmas Day, the Minster Choir sings Solemn Eucharist at 10.00am with a congregation of around 1,900. They then have Matins in the Quire at 11.45 and Solemn Evensong at 4.00pm.

The two services of Nine Lessons and Carols (Saturday and Sunday) had a combined congregation of around 5,000 people, and featured new carol (inspired by the late Sir Stephen Cleobury who did this at King’s, the Minster commissions a new carol each year). This year’s is a setting of The Lamb by Cornish composer Becky McGlade (and beautiful it was too!)

FCM wish you a very happy and a music-filled 2020. Come back next week though, for the final entry! Can you guess what our letter Z will be?!


God in creation