The Catholic University of America

Sept. 30, 2011

Students Seek Blessings on Rooms

  Room blessing

Father Jude prays with RAs and floor residents in McDonald Hall before the room blessings, Sept. 29.

Wearing their long black habits, the Conventual Franciscan friars of Catholic University this week made their annual rounds through residence halls on campus — sprinkling holy water and asking God’s blessings on students and their rooms.

The room blessing is an adaptation of a Catholic custom of blessing homes at the beginning of the calendar year or during the Easter season, explains Rev. Jude DeAngelo, O.F.M. Conv., Catholic University chaplain and director of Campus Ministry.

“It recalls that God is our protector. We ask Him to protect and bless all who occupy and visit our residence halls and our rooms,” he says.

At the start of every academic year, the Campus Ministry priests walk through the residence halls and, at a student’s request, stop to bless the student’s room.
For the past two years, senior Steve Serafin has had his room blessed — first in Millennium North Hall and then at Camalier House in Centennial Village.

“It starts off the year on the right foot,” says Serafin. “I came to Catholic because of the Catholic part of it, and it’s just a helpful reminder to see this sign we put up that says, ‘This room is blessed.’”

Room blessing  
Father Jude blesses Amanda Tavares a freshman from Somerset, Mass. and her room in Unanue Hall.  

Serafin now lives in the off-campus Cloisters, which is home-away-from-home for about 70 upperclassmen.

Campus Ministry chaplains are offering to bless student rooms at the apartment complex, and there’s big demand. Serafin — who is an on-site student minister at the Cloisters — emailed the offer to his fellow residents. He says by the next morning, “a good half” of the students had accepted.

For those living afar off-campus, Campus Ministry is offering another option. Serafin is helping assemble little kits consisting of a container of holy water to sprinkle, a short reading for reflection, and a prayer of blessing. Students may pick up the free kits at Sunday Masses on campus Oct. 16.

According to the Catholic Catechism, blessed or holy water is a sacramental or “sacred sign” instituted by the Church to prepare people “to receive the fruit of the sacraments and sanctify different circumstances of life.”

Following an ancient Jewish practice, early Christians used water to expiate and purify. After a baptism, it became custom for Christians to take some of the blessed water to keep at home and water their fields and vineyards with it.


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