Ordinary Time: February 3rd
Optional Memorial of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr; St. Ansgar, bishop
Old Calendar: St. Blaise
St. Blaise enjoyed widespread veneration in the Eastern and Western Churches due to many cures attributed to him. According to tradition, he was Bishop of Sebaste in Armenia and was martyred under Licinius. On this day the Church gives a "Blessing of the Throats" in honor of St. Blaise. From the eighth century he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with illnesses of the throat.
St. Ansgar became known as the "Apostle of the North" for his great evangelical work in Denmark and Sweden. He was Bishop of Hamburg and then of Bremen. Gregory IV appointed him as his delegate to Denmark and Sweden.
St. Blaise was a physician and Bishop of Sebaste, Armenia. He lived in a cave on Mount Argeus and was a healer of men and animals. According to legend, sick animals would come to him on their own for help, but would never disturb him at prayer.
The priest or deacon places the candles around the throat of whoever seeks the blessing, using the formula: "Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you free from every disease of the throat, and from every other disease. In the name of the Father and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. R. Amen." — Excerpted from Ceremonies of the Liturgical YearPatron: Against wild beasts; animals; builders; carvers; construction workers; coughs; Dalmatia; Dubrovnik; goiters; healthy throats; stonecutters; throat diseases; veterinarians; whooping cough; wool-combers; wool weavers.Symbols: 2 candles; 2 crossed candles; candle; hermit tending wild animals; iron comb; man healing a choking boy; man with two candles; wax; wool comb. Things to Do:
It is customary in many places to bless the throats of the faithful with two candles tied together with a red ribbon to form a cross. The rite of the blessing of throats may take place before or after Mass.
- Take your children to Mass to receive the blessing of throats today.
- Establish a home altar with the blessed candles (symbols of Saint Blaise) from the feast of the Presentation, February 2.
- Visit this website and learn more about St. Blaise and how he saved Dubrovnik in Croatia in the 12th century.
The "apostle of the north" (Scandinavia) had enough frustrations to become a saint—and he did. He became a Benedictine at Corbie, France, where he had been educated. Three years later, when the king of Denmark became a convert, Ansgar went to that country for three years of missionary work, without noticeable success. Sweden asked for Christian missionaries, and he went there, suffering capture by pirates and other hardships on the way. Less than two years later he was recalled, to become abbot of New Corbie (Corvey) and bishop of Hamburg. The pope made him legate for the Scandinavian missions. Funds for the northern apostolate stopped with Emperor Louis's death. After thirteen years' work in Hamburg, Ansgar saw it burned to the ground by invading Northmen; Sweden and Denmark returned to paganism.
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