In his first year as pastor at St. Mary’s in Longview, Fr. Mark Kusmirek has focused on a traditional Catholic Christmas custom that he credits with first exposing him to the priesthood.
As of this Wednesday, the priests and deacons at St. Mary’s have visited the homes of almost 90 parish families for the traditional Epiphany blessing of homes. The custom recalls the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child.
“This blessing is very important to me,” said Fr. Kusmirek. “The first thing I remember as a young child is the priest visiting our home at 705 Fairmont Ave. in Youngstown, Ohio, and writing this blessing above the door.”
Customarily, the priest or deacon will bless then home with holy water then, using chalk that has been blessed, write an inscription above the door to the house.
In 2015, the inscription reads, “20 + C.M.B. + 15”, indicating that 2,015 years ago the three Magi, whose names by tradition are Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, followed the star to find the Savior.
The priest then says, “May Christ bless this home and all who enter it this year.” The “CMB” has an additional meaning, representing the Latin phrase Christus mansionem bendicat (May Christ bless this home).
The blessing is a source of hope and inspiration to all those families who receive it, and for Fr. Kusmirek, it was even more meaningful.
“It may have been the beginning of my vocation to the priesthood”
Read the full blessing at CatholicCulture.org
Recently, the Longview News Journal talked with Fr. Kusmirek and highlighted traditions surrounding the Epiphany.
Many of the uninitiated may be surprised to learn the 12 days of Christmas are so much more than just a clever holiday song or some kind of countdown that concludes on Christmas day.
No, these dozen days comprise a Christian season celebrating the nativity of Jesus Christ. Beginning Christmas Day and ending Jan. 5, these 12 days are immediately followed by the Feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6.
“This is a time when we look to the past and to the birth of the savior and celebrate,” explained the Rev. Mark Kusmirek, pastor of Mary’s Catholic Church in Longview. “We celebrate the Epiphany — how Jesus revealed himself to the world.” Read more>>>
Photo Credit: Michael Cavazos / Longview News Journal