Normally, anyone can walk through a home with holy water and say prayers. In the past, it was customary in Catholic homes for fathers to bless their children before they retired to bed.
In case of storms, many people say prayers and sprinkle their homes with holy water. Holy water is encouraged to be stored in fonts at the entrances to homes, so that the faithful may bless themselves as they enter or leave the house.
Formal blessing of a home, however, is usually reserved to the ordained ministry. Although there are provisions for lay ministers and people to say the prayers, it is traditional for a deacon or a priest to bless a home, especially when a family moves in. Other times during which deacons or priests bless homes are the Christmas and Easter seasons.
In Nordic countries, such as Poland, Ukraine, and Czech Republic, priests visit the homes of the faithful, especially on the Feast of Epiphany. Catholics in Nordic and Mediterranean countries often have their homes blessed with the new water blessed at Easter. It is also a way for the parish priest or deacon to visit and get to know his parishioners. In America, these customs have fallen away, with the exception of a blessing for a family who moves into a new home.
The ministry of blessing involves a particular exercise of the priesthood of Christ. The general instructions of the Book of Blessings spell out the different ministers who may preside, in which the first is the bishop. When the celebration involves the entire diocese, the bishop may reserve certain celebrations to himself.
Second, it belongs to the ministry of the priesthood when the celebration involves the local parish community, unless the bishop is present. Third, it belongs to the ministry of the deacon, because as the minister of the altar, of the word, and of charity, the deacon is the assistant of the bishop and priests. Yet whenever a priest is present, it is more fitting that he presides at the blessings. Finally, there are provisions for lay people, the priesthood of the faithful. This is especially appropriate when parents bless their children or food at meal time; however, whenever a priest or deacon is present he should preside.
When any of the faithful wish to mark their moving into a new home with a religious celebration, the parish priest should provide the occasion to gather the members of the household to thank God for the gift of their new home. The blessing usually recalls the Holy Family of Nazareth, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, who inspire Christian families to live according to the virtues.