St. Blaise

Feastday: February 3

Patron of Throat Illnesses

Many Catholics might remember Saint Blaise’s feast day because of the Blessing of the Throats that took place on this day. Two candles are blessed, held slightly open, and pressed against the throat as the blessingis said. Saint Blaise’s protection of those with throat troubles apparently comes from a legend that a boy was brought to him who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. The boy was about to die when Saint Blaise healed him.

Very few facts are known about Saint Blaise. We believe he was a bishop of Sebastea in Armenia who was martyred under the reign of Licinius in the early fourth century.

The legend of his life that sprang up in the eighth century tell us that he was born in to a rich and noble familywho raised him as a Christian. After becoming a bishop, a new persecution of Christians began. He received a message from God to go into the hills to escape persecution. Men hunting in the mountains discovered a cave surrounded by wild animals who were sick. Among them Blaise walked unafraid, curing them of their illnesses. Recognizing Blaise as a bishop, they captured him to take him back for trial. On the way back, he talked a wolf into releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman. When Blaise was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman, in gratitude, sneaked into the prison with food and candles. Finally Blaise was killed by the governor.

Blaise is the patron saint of wild animals because of his care for them and of those with throat maladies.

In His Footsteps: Take time as Saint Blaise did to find out how you can help wild animals. Find out what is being done to support and protect the wildlife in your area. There is wildlife everywhere, even in cities. Even a birdfeeder can help God’s creatures survive.

Prayer: Saint Blaise, pray for us that we may not suffer from illnesses of the throat and pray that all who are suffering be healed by God’s love. Amen

Copyright 1996-2000 by Terry Matz. All Rights Reserved.

catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=28

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BLESSING OF THROATS

According to the Acts, while Blaise was being taken into custody, a distraught mother, whose only child was choking on a fishbone, threw herself at his feet and implored his intercession. Touched at her grief, he offered up his prayers, and the child was cured. Consequently, Saint Blaise is invoked for protection against injuries and illnesses of the throat.

In many places on the day of his feast the blessing of St. Blasius is given: two candles are consecrated, generally by a prayer, these are then held in a crossed position by a priest over the heads of the faithful or the people are touched on the throat with them. At the same time the following blessing is given: “May Almighty God at the intercession of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, preserve you from infections of the throat and from all other afflictions”. Then the priest makes the sign of the cross over the faithful.

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See Today’s Readings:

OPTION   01,   02,   03,

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