Feast of St. Blaise
We observe the Feast of St. Blaise on Friday, February 3rd. The “Blessing of Throats” invoking the intercession of St. Blaise will be offered after the 8am Mass on February 3rd as well as after all weekend Masses.
Though many Catholics are familiar with the annual “Blessing of Throats,” few are aware of the origins of the blessing and its symbol: the crossed candles.
St. Blaise (also known as St. Blasius) was a bishop in Armenia in the fourth century. There are two legends associated with him which explain the present-day form of the blessing of the throats with a set of crossed candles.
One legend credits St. Blaise with miraculous gifts of healing as well as influence over animals. One story indicates that once St. Blaise commanded a wolf to release a pig it had captured. The owner of the pig brought a gift of candles to St. Blaise in gratitude.
Another legend credits St. Blaise with the miraculous healing of a boy choking on fishbone. This story as well as another indicating that St. Blaise was martyred by beheading have associated the saint with diseases of the throat.
For further reading
- The Feast of St. Blaise
- St. Blaise (The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia)
- What’s the Smoke For”: And Other Burning Questions about the Liturgy (pp. 37-38)