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A blessing for the  home

A blessing for the home

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens break open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son: with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11)

That beautiful passage taken from the Gospels appears on a framed art print we received as a wedding gift from my grandmother and uncle. It is a depiction of Jesus being baptized in the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist. The artist emphasizes water stylistically to remind us that it is not only life-giving physically, but also spiritually, as it was made holy by Jesus at his baptism. I am sure I will think of this image come June 24 when, almost six months after the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, we mark the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.

After living as a hermit in the desert for some time, John began his ministry of preaching when he was 30. He attracted large crowds along the banks of the River Jordan and baptized them with water as a call to repentance. He then proceeded to baptize Jesus, as we’ve learned from the scriptures.

Certainly water’s symbolic and physical importance appear elsewhere in our faith (Moses striking the rock, the lancing of Christ’s side, etc.). But whenever I think of holy water and baptism, somehow St. John always comes to mind first. And, for that reason, I have decided to make something with my kids to teach them some about this great saint.

I have seen other Catholic homes place holy water fonts outside of doors in their houses. They can be purchased at a Catholic supply store, but you will pay a hefty price for a really nice one. So why not make one? The instructions are at right and getting the holy water is pretty simple. Take a flask or small container to your church and retrieve some from the urn marked “Holy Water” (or a baptismal font) near the entrance. If we can be diligent enough to keep the font filled with holy water, it gives us the chance to bless ourselves and receive as many graces as we can inside our own house. It also can remind us of our own baptism and how we can rededicate our life to God.

Holy water font

For this project, you will need:

  • Small, unfinished wood tray or mosaic frame (found in the wood craft section of any arts and crafts chain)
  • Unfinished wood cross
  • Small, lightweight glass votive or tea light holder (for vessel)
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Scrapbook paper for decorating
  • Any printed religious imagery
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Glue stick
  • Polyurethane or clear acrylic spray
  • Metal/jewelry/hobby cement or epoxy
  • Picture hanging hardware

Paint the edges of the wood tray and let dry. Paint and decorate the wood cross and set aside. Trim and apply the scrapbook paper background on the inside of the tray (using glue stick). Using the cement/epoxy, affix the cross toward the top of the inside of the tray (leaving enough room for the votive/tea light holder at the base). Spray the entire decorated wood tray with polyurethane to add some sheen and protection. Let dry for 20-30 minutes. Apply the cement/epoxy to the back and bottom edge of votive/tea light holder and adhere to the bottom of the finished tray (as shown). Allow project to completely dry (before hanging on wall). Affix picture hanging hardware of choice on back of tray (toward the top) and hang near a doorway. You may wish to adhere a few glue dots or a tacky mounting strip on the back, so font doesn’t move on the wall.