Pastor’s Thoughts

Jan 29, 2024

This coming Saturday, Feb. 3 is the feast day of Saint Blaze. I will bless throats next weekend after all
Masses. Who was this man and what connection does he have to throats? There are very few known facts
about the life of St. Blaze. He was a 4th century Bishop in the city of Sebastian, Western Armenia and died a
martyr’s death. We know he was a physician and was born into a wealthy noble family who raised Blaze a
Christian. Any other details about his life come from a work written over 400 years after his death called the
Acts of St. Blasé. Obviously many embellishment regarding the facts of his life have come to life since
there exist no primary sources of his life just a book written 400 years after he died. Blasé was an outlaw according to the civil magistrates. He refused to worship the emperor or sacrifice to the gods as was required by all citizens during his time. One day a group of hunters seeking wild animals for entertainment for the amphitheaters stumbled upon Blasé’s cave where he lived. The bishop was kneeling in prayer surrounded by wild wolves, lions and bears. The hunters hauled Blasé off to prison as he was considered an outlaw (not sure why the wild animals didn’t bite them LOL). Two miracles happened on his way to prison. The first was a wild wolf who captured a woman’s pig the sole source of her food. Blasé prayed and the wolf returned the pig to the woman. The second miracle and the one we most remember, is the young boy whose mother asked for the prayers of the bishop because her son had a fish bone lodged in his throat. The story goes that blaze laid hands on the boys throat, blessed him, and the bone was dislodged. Eventually St. Blaze died a horrific death in prison by having his flesh burned and tore off of him. Whatever may be fact or legend about this saint’s life, his ‘throat blessing’ must have been an important ‘sacramental’ in the life of the church as it is still celebrated today in 21st century. The reason for two candles tied by a red ribbon during the blessing are as follows: the 2 candles represent the candles the woman brought to St. Blaze in prison whose pig was returned to her. The red ribbon that ties the two candles together represents the martyrdom of the Saint (Redfor blood). As the words of the blessing go, “Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, 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. “ AMEN.