Yesterday I went to my very first housing blessing.
My friend Edwina (pictured) has just moved in with a Catholic flatmate, Robyn (also pictured). Robyn wanted Father Gerald Quinn (centre of picture) to bless the house and Edwina invited me to watch.
I first encountered Father Gerald Quinn at the Royal Hobart Hospital, where he is one of the hospital chaplains. He is a lovely man - geniune and warm with a smile that lights up the room. The last time I saw him was about two years ago when he conducted the funeral of my good friend Simon Turner.
Father Quinn gave Robyn a crucifix and a medal. Robyn explained to me that the medal was from World War two. A Catholic soldier was shot and the medal saved him.
Father Quinn said lots of prayers - the Lord's prayer, protection from demons/devils and prayers that the home would be filled with love and peace. As he was praying I felt a curious sense of peace descend on me.
He poured some water into a jug and some salt into a cup. He blessed the salt and then the water, then mixed them together. After a few more prayers he sprinkled the water around the house.
I am not sure what my fellow Protestants feel about the blessing of houses but I think it is a nice idea - if not holy water and relics just some prayer from pastors/elders when people move is a good idea I think.
God Bless you all