This Friday, Feb. 3, we celebrate the Feast of St. Blaise with the blessing of throats.
According to Franciscan Media, “We know more about the devotion to St. Blaise by Christians around the world than we know about the saint himself. His feast is observed as a holy day in some Eastern Churches. In 1222, the Council of Oxford prohibited servile labor in England on Blaise’s feast day. The Germans and Slavs hold him in special honor, and for decades many U.S. Catholics have sought the annual St. Blaise blessing for their throats.”
He was martyred in the city of Sebastea, Armenia in 316, and tales about his life were written 400 years later. According to these tales, St. Blaise was a good bishop who worked “hard to encourage the spiritual and physical health of his people.”
Another tale says he eventually lived as a hermit and made friends with the wild animals. One day, a group of hunters found him in his cave kneeling in prayer surrounded by wolves, lions and bears. He was taken to prison where one of his most famous tales happened. A mother sought help for her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. St. Blaise was able to help the child cough up the bone.
St. Blaise is the patron saint of ailments of the throat and wool combers. Many parishes celebrate the feast day by using candles to bless the throats of parishioners. Here are a few parishes that will have the blessing of the throats during Mass on Friday, Feb. 3:
- Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 6175 Datil Pepper Road in St. Augustine, at 9 a.m.
- Holy Faith Catholic Church, 747 NW 43rd Street in Gainesville, at 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
- Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 8523 Normandy Blvd. in Jacksonville, at 8 a.m.
- St. Luke Catholic Church, 1606 Blanding Blvd. in Middleburg, at 7 p.m.
- St. William Catholic Church, 275 Satsuma Street in Keystone Heights, at 8:30 a.m.
Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 10900 SW 24th Avenue in Gainesville will bless throats on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 5, at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (Spanish) and 5:30 p.m. Check with your parish to find out if they will be blessing throats this weekend.
Visit Franciscan Media’s Saint of the Day online to learn more about St. Blaise: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-blaise/