First Posted: 1/13/2013
It’s an Eastern European tradition this church is keeping alive.
Father Carmen G. Bolock of St. Mary’s Polish National Catholic Church in Duryea visits each home in his parish around the Feast of the Epiphany.
And he stays for coffee and cake.
Bolock visited the home of Guido and Angie Dianese on York Avenue in Duryea Thursday night.
The home blessing was simple. A short prayer, holy water sprinkled in each room and the door frame marked in chalk. The mark above the door read, 20+K+M+B+13, which represents the year and in between the numbers are in initials of the three kings from the East that visited Jesus Christ after his birth, traditionally Caspar, an Indian scholar; Melchior, a Persian scholar; and Balthazar, an Arabian scholar. Caspar is represented as a K because of Polish translation, Bolock said.
Bolock said the Epiphany of Visitation for Blessing of Homes, according to the Rite of the Polish National Catholic Church, has roots in the Eastern European Tradition, which includes the Poles, Slovaks, Hungarians and those from the Ukraine and Russia.
But the time Bolock spend with his parishioners goes to the heart of the visit.
As the Kings came to visit Christ, and brought him the gifts, the Kings come to visit our home and bring the gift of Christ, Bolock said. The Kings are bringing Christ as a guest in the home.
He said a blessing will cleanse the home of negative things that may have happened over the past year, such as illness, death, loss or grief.
It picks up the spirit of the home and the family, he said.
He said he always instructs couples that plan to marry they will invite a lot of people into their home.
But the one person you want to invite into your home to live there is Christ, he said. If Christ is in the home, things tend to go better.
He said the blessing will offer hope for the New Year.
Plus, it gets me into the homes, to see what’s going on, and give them time to address any concerns or discuss matters of faith.
The Dianeses offered coffee and fresh cake to the guests.
Angie Dianese said she started having Bolock over for the blessing several years ago.
We want our family to start the New Year in good spiritual standing, she said.
Her husband, Guido, was raised Roman Catholic, but didn’t go to church much until he married Angie.
We try to go now because of the family, he said.
The couple has a son, Blake, who is 1.
Bolock said interesting things often happen at home blessings.
When he was stationed at St. Joseph’s Polish National Catholic Church in Middleport, he visited a home with an overzealous 4-year-old.
When I sprinkled the holy water, some landed on the coffee table, Bolock said. He said you’re not supposed to spray water on the coffee table and he came over and wiped it off.
Then I went mark the door with chalk, and the kid yelled out, ‘Mommy, he’s writing on the wall!’
He said his church tries to keep rich and valuable traditions alive.
On the Feast of St. Stephen on Dec. 26, parishioners throw walnuts at him to symbolize the stoning of St. Stephen.
On St. John’s Day, each churchgoer is given an extra cup of wine in commemoration of the failed poisoning attempt of St. John. His wine was poisoned, but the poison turned into a snake and slithered out of the cup.
In the old days, most houses had a living room and a parlor, Bolock said. Nobody came in the parlor unless the pastor came. It was a different time, but I like to keep those old traditions alive as much as possible.