Winter Blessing of Throats bestowed during Feast of St. Blaise

Each year, around the Feast of St. Blaise on February 3, St. Catherine's priests and deacons join other Catholic clergy to bestow a special blessing of throats. After all Masses the weekend of February 7-8, parishioners received this blessing.

According to the centuries-old tradition, two candles are blessed, held slightly open, and pressed against the throat as the blessing is said: "Oh God, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr, Blaise, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat."

Saint Blaise is the patron of physicians, sick cattle, wax-chandlers, woolcombers, and of wild animals because of his care for them and of those with throat maladies. He was a bishop of Sebastea in Armenia who was martyred during a Christian persecution in the fourth century.

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