The Oratory Church remains open for public worship, daily Mass, Confessions, and Eucharisitc Exposition.
Our gingerbread house is made each year by Br Francisco, with a recipe from his native Finland, as an ancient tradition, and is seen here in the Oratory refectory – before its deconstruction began…!
Bethlehem means “House of Bread”.  Jewish students would make a house of bread in anticipation of the prophecy of the Messiah’s arrival in Bethlehem.  In time ginger (and other spices) were added to give zest and flavour, and as a preservative of the bread.  An Armenian monk brought the tradition to France in 992;  by 1295 master bakers in Germany were confecting these structures.  In 1444 Swedish nuns made gingerbread figures to ease indigestion, and these were popularised in England by Queen Elizabeth I.
The Magi (Kings / Wise Men) are on their way to Bethlehem.  You can monitor their progress across our Church, as they journey towards to Crib, to arrive for the Feast of the Epiphany.
The Oratory Fathers and Brothers pray for God’s blessing on your homes and families during this Christmastide.
THE SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY
is a Holy Day of Obligation.
There are 4 Masses at the Oratory:
Tuesday 5th January:
6pm Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form (Latin)
with the blessing a chalk and Epiphany Water for blessing our homes.
Wednesday 6th January:
7.30am and 12.15pm Low Masses.
7pm Solemn Mass.
You are invited to bring a small bottle to fill with Epiphany Water, and to take a stick of Blessed Chalk, for the traditional Epiphany Blessing of our homes.
EPIPHANY  BLESSING  OF  HOMES
The ancient custom of blessing Epiphany Water, and the blessing of chalk, takes place at Mass on the Feast of the Epiphany for the annual blessing of our homes.
Take a stick of blessed chalk after an Epiphany Mass and use it to bless your home.
In non-pandemic times one of the Oratory Fathers could visit you and bless your home on one of the remaining days of January.
Sacred Scripture records God commanding His people to mark their doors.  The Israelites marked the lintel and door posts with the blood of the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:7), and a similar command was given with the Shema Yisrael:  Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  Keep these words that I am commanding you today…and write them on the door- posts of your house and on your gates. (Deut 6:4-6, 9)
The inscription has two meanings.  First, the initials of the Magi – Caspar, Malchior, and Balthazar.  They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus Mansionem Benedicat: “May Christ bless the house.” The ’20’ and ’21’ at the beginning and end indicate the year, thus praying for Christ to bless the home so marked and to be with those who live and visit there throughout the year.
20 + C + M + B + 21
The Priest, or Father of the Family, or senior member of the household, makes this inscription on the lintel above the main door of the home saying:
The three wise men:
Caspar ….  Write C,   leave a space
Melchior … Write M,  leave a space
and Balthasar …       Write B,  leave a space… 
followed the Star of God’s Son
Who took human flesh
Two thousand            Write 20 before the “C M B” 
and 21 years ago.      Write 21 after the “C M B”
May Christ bless this home   Mark the first 2 crosses
and remain with us         Mark the second 2 crosses
through this New Year. Amen.
Almighty God, hear our prayer. Bless us. Send Your Holy Angel to defend us.  Fill with Your grace all who dwell here, and all who visit this home. Amen.
Epiphany Water may then be sprinkled in each room, after which is said the Our Father, and other prayers.
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