Epiphany – Blessing of the Holy Water

 

 Father Isadore Dziadyk, OSBM blessing the school with holy water

 

The Feast of Epiphany is a liturgical event that is celebrated every year on January 6th. Over the past 2000 years, it has evolved to commemorate one of the most significant events in Christendom – the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the river Jordan.

 

A sign indicating the approximate spot where Jesus was baptized 2000 years ago

 

During Epiphany, people traditionally attend a prayer service where the priest blesses regular water into holy water – a ??Blessing of the Water? ceremony. Years ago, it was customary to go to the nearest river (symbolic of the Jordan river) where a priest would bless the entire body of water. Since the ceremony took place outdoors on a river or lake during the first week of January, an ice cross was often constructed for the event.

 

On Friday, January 11, 2013, the staff and students of IHMS celebrated Epiphany with a Blessing of the Water ceremony in the school gym. The entire service was conducted indoors by the school chaplain, Father Isadore Dziadyk, OSBM. A specially constructed ice cross was set up in the playground, but blustery winds and a ??blizzard warning? for th city of Winnipeg kept everyone indoors.

 

The ice cross set up in the IHMS playground

 

In order to bless the water, Father Isidore invoked the Holy Spirit to come upon the water, and then did four triple blessings over the water. The first blessing involved the use of 3 triple candlesticks called Trikirion.

 

He did a triple blessing with a Trikirion

 

A Trikirion stands for the Holy Trinity. Jesus is the Great Light, and when immersed, the burning candle (the Lord) sanctifies the water (the world).

 

He did a triple blessing with his hand

 

The hand is a concrete, physical way in which the water is blessed. This symbolizes the fact that God is with us in a concrete way through the humanity of Jesus.

 

He did a triple blessing with his breath

 

Breathing over the water, the priest asks the Holy Spirit to come upon the water. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the water is blessed.

 
 He did a triple blessing with the immersed cross

The cross represents Jesus?? personal descent into the water.

 

At this point, the blessing of the water ceremony was over.

Before returning to their classrooms, the students listened to part of the Performing Group sing a selection of Christmas carols.

 

Father Isidore then walked around the school with a small group of grade 8 students and blessed each room with a sprinkle of the newly blessed holy water. The students, lead by Mrs. Stanowych, sang a hymn throughout this process.

 

 

The holy water that was left over from the ceremony is kept in the front foyer near the trophy case for anyone interested in taking some home with them. It can be used for blessing your home or car, and can even be used for drinking. Please bring a container of your choice to school and help yourself.