I can't keep up with all these feasts

Yesterday someone asked me if I would go with her to a church for the “blessings of the throat?” Anyone here get this type of blessing?

I just saw an announcement about the Feast of Candelmas.

There is so much!


St. Blaise.

When I was in Catholic School back in the 1960s it seemed to me that the feast day of St. Blaise (February 3) and the blessing of the throats was one of the most important days of the year. People seemed much more afraid of choking back then. Maybe because it was pre - Heimlich Maneuver?

…not that people don’t worry about choking now. But it seemed like people felt more helpless in connection with choking than they do now.

Well, it is a minor feast compared to the others. Its nice to follow as much of the traditions as possible but also know that the little traditions are little for the fact that they do not carry as much significance as the major ones. So just focus on the major ones first, and if you come across the little ones then joyfully participate in them. If not, don’t let your conscience be bothered you missed one.

I am definitely going to do the Throat Blessing if I can find it.


Choking? Does that mean candles go down your throat? :eek:

Priests bless throats on St. Blaise’s feast, in order that no maladies happen. No, candles do not go down your throat.

Oh no! The priest takes two candles in a v-shape and holds them to your throat to bless you. The candles are not lit. :slight_smile:

It is honor of St. Blaise who interceded for a child who was choking on a fish bone.

We did this in grammar school. Sometimes not even at Mass, we’d line up in the hall.

lol, no, the candles are placed on your throat while a short blessing is said. The blessing is against all ailments of the throat (which of course can include choking…)

Here is what happens:
People form a line, as they would for communion.
With the crossed candles touched to the throat of each person, the celebrant says immediately: "Through the intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. "

Or the more modern version of the blessing:
“Through the intercession of St. Blaise, may God preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil, In the name of the Father, Son, + and Holy Spirit”

The priest holds an unlit candle under your throat and pronounces the blessing. It happened to me as a youngster. Haven’t had throat problems since.

Well, almost never.

Ha ha. Thanks. :smiley:

Actually, 99% of the time the candles are not lit, but they can be!

You would see lit candles at very traditional parishes. That was the pre-V2 way. It looks very cool but they have to be very careful.

No candles down the throat! :slight_smile:

At least when I was younger what would happen was the priest would hold two blessed candles (not lit) in a crossed position (more of a “V” actually) and the inside of the “V” would be held up to your throat while the blessing was said. St. Blaise is the saint who is asked to intercede to guard against choking and other diseases of the throat.

The priest holds a pair of crossed candles (in the shape of an X) to each person’s throat. It looks a bit like their throat is in the cutting bit of a pair of (really big) scissors. He says the blessing over their throat and they go back to their seat; he moves on to the next person. The blessing is to prevent and cure illnesses of the throat.

Apart from that, it is a standard Mass. Blaise isn’t a major saint, it’s only an optional memoria, so unless you go to daily Mass anyway or have a particular devotion to him or a particular reason for wanting your throat blessed, I wouldn’t bother. It’s as well to know what to expect if you were intending to go though so you’re not :eek: There’s no special protocol - in most places you just queue up as if for communion.

People make more of a deal over Candlemas (or the Purification of Our Lady in the EF) as it celebrates the last of the series of the revelations of who Christ is (Christmas, Epiphany and Baptism) and marks the day we take down the Christmas crib (although a lot of people do that earlier, like on the Epiphany). Again, it is in no way compulsory although it is a feast.

In my experience, Mass attendance for days like Candelmas is maybe 10% up on the standard daily Mass, it’s nothing like Sundays. I don’t know that more than one or two extra people would come for St Blaise.

EDIT: Man, I was so slow typing that like half a dozen people replied in the meantime. I need some intercessory prayers there!

I guess it was during the pre-penicillin days when throat infections could really ravage someone.

Jack, be nimble…

That, and there were a lot more choking deaths, too. Because the symptoms of choking can resemble a heart attack (can’t breathe, red face, rapid death), the term ’ cafe coronary’
was once used to describe these sudden deaths.

Better education about choking and rescue technique has made this a much less life-ending situation than in S. Blaise’s time.

God Bless, ICXC NIKA

Well penicillin has been around since my mother was a small child. (It probably saved her from appendicitis when she was very very young.) But I imagine infections were a big deal before that. And of course now penicillin is not always effective against infections…

Choking on swallowed objects, strep infections, swelling due to anaphylactic shock, cancer… lots of things can go wrong with throats. I just remember that people seemed particularly concerned about choking back in the 1960s. As I said, this was prior to the Heimlich maneuver and other techniques to aid choking victims were much less effective.

It seems that the main achievement of the “modern version” is to leave out the three words “bishop and martyr”. I wonder what the supposed advantage of that is?

So this feast is not on the traditional calendar?

It’s funny, I purchased a calendar from the Knights of Columbus and I don’t even look at it. Maybe I wouldn’t be so surprised if I looked at it.