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House blessing tradition brings home faith

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Fr. Billy Kosco, pastor of St. Henry Parish, installs a blessing plaque over the door of Alan and Adele Gaxiola’s home Jan. 31 in Buckeye. (Joyce Coronel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Fr. Billy Kosco, pastor of St. Henry Parish, installs a blessing plaque over the door of Alan and Adele Gaxiola’s home Jan. 31 in Buckeye. (Joyce Coronel/CATHOLIC SUN)

BUCKEYE — When Fr. Billy Kosco, pastor of St. Henry Parish, drives through Arizona’s newest city that sprawls in the shadows of the White Tank Mountains, he can point out some of the homes he and Deacon Mark Gribowski have blessed.

That’s because Keepsake Trophy and Engraving in Avondale has supplied St. Henry Parish with complimentary plaques that indicate a home has been officially blessed.

The words inscribed on the plaques, hung over the exterior of the front door of the home, ask that “all who are searching for Christ, like the Magi from the East, find Him here in this home.”

Traditionally, homes have been blessed on the feast of Epiphany, but the blessings can be imparted at any time of year, Fr. Kosco said.

“A house represents a family, so blessing a home is a family blessing whereby we ask for an increase in faith and protection for the family,” Fr. Kosco said. “The blessing is also an act of gratitude to God for providing a place for the family to live.”

The blessing of the home also allows Fr. Kosco and Deacon Gribowski an opportunity to get to know the parishioners who live there.

“People often invite us to share a meal with them afterward,” Deacon Gribowski said, noting that parishioners are very thankful and have a sense of peace after the blessing.

“You want your home to be a place of refuge and know that the presence of God is there,” Deacon Gribowski said.

Visitors to a blessed home often ask about the plaque over the front door. “It becomes an invitation for families to share their faith,” Fr. Kosco said. “Religious groups that often go door-to-door are starting to acknowledge that the plaque identifies the family as being Catholic.”

In addition to the words engraved on the plaque, there’s also the traditional 20+C+M+B+14. The letters indicate the initials of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus Mansionem Bendicat, meaning “May Christ bless the house.”

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