Tuesday, 3 February 2009

St Blaise, Bishop and Martyr

This morning at mass, as is customary in my local church on the feast of St Blaise, we had our throats blessed. The priest held a pair of crossed candles over each congregant's throat, saying: 'May God at the intercession of Saint Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil'.

This practice apparently originated when a boy who had a fish-bone stuck in his throat was brought to St Blaise, who healed him. Relatively few facts are known about St Blaise. Legend has it that he was born into a rich and noble family who raised him as a Christian. He became a bishop and, during a period of heightened persecution of Christians, he fled to the hills where he cured sick animals. He was captured, sentenced to death by starvation and was finally martyred.

St Blaise is the patron saint of physicians, sick cattle, wax-chandlers, woolcombers (the instruments of his martyrdom), and of wild animals.
O GOD, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blase, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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