Many religions have some form of house blessing tradition, a rite that [in Christianity] is intended to protect a home by inviting God’s love, peace, and presence to inhabit the space and the people living within it.
“In the Christian tradition, the Blessing of the Home is common,” said NAS Patuxent River Chaplain Lt. Clay Hamrick. “From Jesus’ ministry until today, the home was a place of deep relationship building, spiritual formation, and a simple expression of the church.”
Hamrick explained that people have their homes blessed for various reasons, some which include the celebration of purchasing a new home; glorifying God and wishing for all who enter to feel His presence; following some sort of personal trauma; or feeling the presence of negative spirits.
“They notice a difference afterward,” Hamrick said. “Praying and blessing the home can bring peace of mind, healing, and a fresh start to the family.”
After living outside of Southern Maryland for 15 years, Kia Oswalt returned to the area she calls home with her two children and purchased her first home in 2020, during the pandemic. She describes herself as someone who “gathers as a family to pray over every blessing and hardship that occurs, no matter how big or small.” A member of Pax River’s St. Nicholas Chapel congregation, she knew the first thing she wanted to do was have the chaplain come over with his wife and pray with her family to bless their new beginning.
Oswalt, whose father is a retired senior chief and whose mother worked at the installation’s Child Development Center for 30 years, expected to stand in a circle with her parents, children, and other family members and friends while the chaplain led them in prayer.
“We did that, then began unloading the truck full of boxes when I noticed the chaplain went on to anoint my entire house, inside and out,” Oswalt said. “He prayed in every room. He blessed every single doorway and window, and he even blessed my outside shed. I was overwhelmed by what he was doing. I had no idea there was an actual Blessing of the Home, but it will be something I remember and cherish for the rest of my life. It was the perfect start for us.”
As a chaplain and a minister, Hamrick claims it is a special honor and privilege for him to be asked to bless someone’s home.
“It allows me to make a deeper connection and to aid in the development and resilience of people,” he said. “It reveals how I can continue to pray, minister, or connect them to church and the community. For whatever reason people may have, if they would like me to bless their home, they can feel free to reach out to me.”
Chaplain Hamrick, whose office is located in the Religious Programs Center, Building 401, can be contacted by emailing email@example.com; or phoning his office at (301) 757-1809, or his cell at (301) 247-8058.