Dear Brothers & Sisters,
We would like to thank everyone who made our Christmas celebrations so beautiful! Special thanks to the decorators, the eucharistic ministers, lectors and altar servers that served the masses. We also would like to thank everyone who was so generous with cards, gifts, baked goods and most importantly your prayers for us. The Christmas cards that we received we keep up all year long because Christ comes into our hearts everyday! You will see the cards on the cover of the bulletin. We are very thankful for our parishioners and your generosity in so many ways!!
On February 3rd we celebrate the Feast of St. Blaise. We will have the Blessing of the Throats February 4th and February 5th at mass. Below is some information about St. Blaise.
St. Blaise of Sebaste was a physician and the bishop of Sebastea, in modern-day Armenia, around the 3rd century A.D. Not much is known about his life, but we do know that many people came to him seeking healing for body and soul. The Acts of St. Blaise is a series of legends about his life. According to the medical writings of Aetius Amidenus, Blaise would treat people who had objects stuck in their throats.
In 316, the governor of Cappadocia (modern-day central Turkey) was ordered by the Roman Emperor Licinius to persecute St. Blaise. Blaise was hunted down, imprisoned, and eventually beheaded.
St. Blaise became associated with blessings of the throat after a miracle he performed shortly before his death. According to his Acts, as St. Blaise was being taken into custody, a child nearby was choking on a fishbone. His mother threw herself at the saint’s feet and begged him for his intercession. Blaise prayed for the child, who was then cured. As a result, St. Blaise often intercedes for protection against illnesses and injuries of the throat. (Some accounts state that Blaise had been given two candles and formed the candles in a cross around the boy’s throat.)
The intercession of St. Blaise through the Blessing of the Throats can protect us from diseases and anything that distracts us from God and His healing power. Customs like this one, so deeply rooted in our history as a Church, show us the beauty of our faith and how close we are to the miraculous.
In time, the custom of blessing the throats of the faithful developed, with priests holding two tapered candles — blessed the day before on Candlemas, Feb 2 — over the head or the throat while invoking the intercession of St. Blaise against any ailment of the throat and body.
It’s an ancient custom of the Church to bless the sick, rooted in the ministry of Christ and his apostles. According to the Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum, the annual blessing of throats is a traditional sign of the struggle against illness in the life of the Christian. The blessing is ordinarily given during Mass or a celebration of the Word of God on February 3, the memorial of St. Blaise, following Candlemas, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
Father Steven Clemence