Our First House Blessing

The Healy’s had their first house blessing last night. We kept the girls up past their normal bedtimes so they could take part in it. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, and neither was Anna. In fact, when Anna asked Father Patrick what would be going on, he replied that if he tried to explain it to her it would end up being insulting. It would be like trying to explain breakfast. She would know well enough what was going on.

Anna picked me up from work and we decided to splurge and eat out so as to reduce the clean up (of dishes and daughters) necessary prior to Father’s arrival. On the way home from the restaurant, we told Sofie that Father Patrick was coming over. She squealed with delight, “Fadder Padig coming home!” A few moments later she made a comment about our “go to Church.” To which we replied, that tonight the Church was coming to us.

When Father rang, I buzzed him in and Sofie and I opened the front door. She hollered down to him, “Hi, Fadder Padig!” Poor Father Patrick had to climb our three flights of stairs, and I felt like apologizing to him when he walked through the doorway. But he exercises daily on the treadmill, so it was not overly taxing for him.

After a few pleasantries, we gathered together in front of the icon “corner” (the mantle of our faux fireplace on the east wall), and the prayers began. Father was right. It was a very simple service. We prayed a litany, Father invoked the angelic hosts, led by St. Michael the Archangel, to our aid against all the hosts of darkness, and we were sprinkled with holy water and then processed through our entire apartment which was liberally sprinkled (doused rather!) with holy water. Father all the while prayed the psalms. We ended again before the icons and all venerated the cross.

Afterwards we stayed up late with Father Patrick having a most pleasant and enlightening conversation. Anna asked some “hard” questions about prayers for the dead, why non-Orthodox cannot take communion, and the baptism of infants. Being the brilliant woman that she is, she quickly grasped the rationale for each. She also spoke in terms of “when we become Orthodox,” which was very heartening for me to hear. Having expressed my own pleasure at such an expression, let me hasten on to make sure I do not miscommunicate about her own relationship to Orthodoxy and her own inquiry. I do not want to give an impression that I am overdescribing my wife’s place in her journey beyond her growing interest in Orthodoxy. She is on her own journey, and I must as her husband respectfully and patiently love her as she travels. When and if she becomes Orthodox will be her own decision. It is for me simply to love her no matter what she decides when she decides it.

May the Lord shower his grace on us in this coming year.

10 thoughts on “Our First House Blessing

  1. Cool! It’s exciting that you and Anna seem to be moving forward in your journey to Orthodoxy. May God guard your life and protect you with His love so that you may enter safely into the Holy Orthodox Church. 🙂

  2. What a beautiful post, Clifton – it sounds like it went very well.

    I’m also surprised because it sounds like there is a difference in Slavic (which my church is) and Antiochian house blessings – not in the big picture way, but I think the prayers are slightly different (ours focus on Zaccheus not the Holy Archangel Michael) and we sing the Theophany Tropar while the house is blessed, not Psalms. I thank you for the information.

    I agree with David’s prayer! And, I’m loving the “Father Padrig”. That must make him smile.

  3. I’m anticipating our first house blessing later in the month. Springboarding from Mimi’s comments, our priest indicated (to my 4 year old) that he would be talking about Zaccheus as well, and our Khouria told me that we would sing the Theophany Troparia. I understand however that there is some variability in the service (sort of like Confession, perhaps?), and different priests use somewhat different services.

    Clifton – regarding infant baptism – have you run across Fr. John Hainsworth’s (All Saints of Alaska Orthodox Mission in Victoria, BC) article on the subject?

    It’s available by scrolling down on the page at “http://www.allsaintsofalaska.ca/articles.html”All Saints Articles

  4. I should have clarified in my post that Father offered more prayers than I indicated in the post. I should also note that my attention was not always 100% focused, since I had to help Sofie focus herself on the worship service.

    So it could well be that Father did everything kosher, and I just left out the kosher stuff. And it may well be that Father was praying only verses and/or phrases from the psalms. He did everything by memory, so there was no printed liturgy to follow.

  5. I don’t think there is any worries that Father did anything unKosher (from what I know of Father Patrick, it’d be more likely for him to fly), just that there are variances. Little t tradtion differences.

    It’s still an incredible blessing to live in a blessed home!

  6. I hope my comments weren’t taken as suggesting that Fr. Patrick did anything unusual [and how would I be able to assess that, anyway!?]! Far from it! I just wanted to share that at least some AOCNA and OCA house blessings were similar in this regard in case Mimi was wondering.

    ‘kosher’ – chuckle

  7. Wonderful news. We have been asking Father Seraphim Rose for his intercessions on behalf of you and your family; who better to understand the issues of a bookish American pilgrim on his way to Orthodoxy? (I know…Father Seraphim has not yet been canonized. Details.)

  8. We saw/heard Fr. Reardon speak at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas today. I told him I enjoy reading your blog, and mentioned how you wrote about your house blessing.

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