St. Blaise Day Blessing – WDTPRS POLLS!

Today is St. Blaise Day in the Latin Church.   It is a day traditionally associated with the special blessing of throats.

Specially blessed candles held in the form of an X or a relic of St. Blaise is placed at the throat and the blessing is spoken by a priest or deacon:

Per intercessionem Sancti Blasii, episcopi et martyris,
liberet te Deus a malo gutturis, et a quolibet alio malo.
In nomine Patris, et Filii +, et Spiritus Sancti.  Amen.

Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr,
may God free you from illness of the throat and from any other sort of ill.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

The blessing for the candles in the older Rituale Romanum is wonderful:

O God most powerful and most kind, Who didst create all the different things in the world by the Word alone, and Whose will it was that this Word by Which all things were made should become incarnate for the remaking of mankind; Thou Who art great and limitless, worthy of reverence and praise, the worker of wonders; for Whose sake the glorious Martyr and Bishop, St. Blaise, joyfully gained the palm of martyrdom, never shrinking from any kind of torture in confessing his faith in Thee; Thou Who didst give to him, amongst other gifts, the prerogative of curing by Thy power every ailment of men’s throats; humbly we beg Thee in Thy majesty not to look upon our guilt, but, pleased by his merits and prayers, in Thine awe-inspiring kindness, to bless+this wax created by Thee and to sanc+tify it, pouring into it Thy grace; so that all who in good faith shall have their throats touched by this wax may be freed from every ailment of their throats through the merit of his suffering, and, in good health and spirits, may give thanks to Thee in Thy holy Church and praise Thy glorious name, which is blessed for ever and ever.  Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who with Thee lives and reigns, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.  R. Amen.

Mighty stuff!

This may shock you, but I am against lay people giving the St. Blaise blessing… “blessing”, when they give it, that is.  The ghastly Book of Blessings has a form for lay people doing this, so the Church permits it.  That doesn’t mean I have to like it.  What the ordained do when they bless and what lay people do when they “bless” are different.  There.  I’ve said it.  I am sure you are shocked.

Let’s have a couple WDTPRS POLLS about today and the blessing.

Did you receive the St. Blaise Day blessing?

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And another version of the POLL.

Given what you have read about the "Communion for divorced, civilly remarried" debate, whose arguments seem to be right? Whose arguments pass your Catholic "smell test"?

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56 Responses to St. Blaise Day Blessing – WDTPRS POLLS!

  1. Jack Hughes says:

    I didn’t go up, in the age of lemsip I think the blessing of throats is a little quaint.

  2. Jack Hughes: Read the blessing of the candles and the actual St. Blaise blessing text and ponder that “quaint” part.

  3. Mark of the Vine says:

    Lay blessing is different from ordained blessing. Quite true. This reminds me when I was walking around the sanctuary of Fátima with a lay friar of the FFI. A woman came up to him and asked for him to bless a statue of the Virgin. He appoligized politely, saying that he was a lay friar and couldn’t bless. She insisted. He explained that if he blessed it it would be the same as if though she herself had blessed it; it would not become sacramental. She looked at him in disbelief, somewhat peeved, and went off.
    The friar was very saddened. He had recently moved to Fátima (he was Irish) and thought that, for some reason, all Portuguese were very pious and indoctrinated.

  4. Robert_H says:

    Crud. I forgot today was St. Blaise Day. Too busy digging out from the latest pesky snowstorm (which our overly-enthusiastic local news calls The Blizzard of 2011).

    Here’s more about St Blaise, from Catholic Culture:

    While in prison, Blaise ministered to and healed fellow prisoners, including saving a child who was choking on a fish bone; this led to the blessing of throats on Blaise’s feast day.

    Thrown into a lake to drown, Blaise stood on the surface and invited his persecutors to walk out and prove the power of their gods; they drowned. When he returned to land, he was martyred by being beaten, his flesh torn with wool combs (which led to his association with and patronage of those involved in the wool trade), and then beheading.

  5. jmoran says:

    I was very blessed to attend Holy Mass where the blessing was being given by four priests. Personally, I would not receive it from a lay person.

  6. irishgirl says:

    I thought we were going to get the blessing last Sunday at our TLM chapel, but it didn’t happen. There was a baptism instead after Mass.
    Maybe we’ll have it this Sunday.
    And I would not receive it from a layperson, either!

  7. JaneC says:

    There were two priests blessing throats this morning…and also half a dozen lay people. I was seated on the center aisle, so I received my blessing from a priest.

    Candles were blessed before Mass yesterday. The blessing was done in the vestibule, and we all processed into the church with lit candles. Large votive candles which had been blessed were given out after Mass for us to take home. I am glad the traditions were observed–my previous parish, though a good place, neglected Candlemas.

  8. Blessing was done by a priest, straight by the books, simple no frills to the point

  9. Gail F says:

    I went to mass this morning at the parish where my son’s consolidated school is located. It was their weekly school mass but also a special one for Catholic Schools Week. The bulletin said the blessing of the throats would be at this mass but it wasn’t — I assume because they moved it to the weekend as very few parishioners would be there. But I guess the kids don’t need their throats blessed??? Normally at our parish we do it on the weekend. We have two priests at that mass and only they do the blessing. I didn’t know there was a provision for lay people to do it and I’m glad our Worship Commission doesn’t know that — if they knew, we’d be doing it. We have women wafting bowls of incense, etc., to I’m sure they’d be all for it. On the other hand, it’s a little “old-fashioned” so maybe none of the “ministers of liturgical movement” would be interested.

  10. Vox clamantis in deserto says:

    Received blessing from a priest, and even in Latin, although the Holy Mass was said in German.

  11. Lisa says:

    I received the blessing from a priest. But I was a little surprised when he lit the candles before beginning the blessings. Is this normal? I had never been blessed with lit candles before, and it was a little nerve-wracking, although happily uneventful.

  12. trespinos says:

    Received the blessing a day early, since last Sunday’s bulletin had mistakenly advised that Wednesday would be the saint’s day. Father did not want to disappoint those who had taken that as fact.

    A joyous day it is, too, in the little mountain town of Taranta Peligna in the Abbruzzi, where they honor, as Robert_H noted, the patron of their (barely surviving) wool trade with a procession and sale of freshly baked little loaves (“panicelle”) stamped with the image of St. Blase, and St. Roch, and St. Roch’s dog.

  13. Teddy says:

    I received the Saint Blaise blessing of throats from a chorbishop after attending Maronite Divine Liturgy. Laudatur Jesus Christus!

    Qadeeshat aloho. Qadeeshat hyeltono. Qadeeshat amouyoto. Itraham alein.

  14. Supertradmum says:

    It is below zero here and we are still digging out after the blizzard. I shall ask, privately, dear St. Blaise to bless my throat here at home. I just gave my great-grandma’s wool comb to a home schooling family, as I am finished teaching in the home. Ouch, for St. Blaise’s sufferings would have been great.

  15. Catherine says:

    Although I have a bad cold and sore throat, I was not able to drive this morning to receive the blessing. This is a very beautiful memory from my childhood, so I feel sad. However, I did watch the Mass on EWTN with Fr. Mitch Pacwa. Does it count if you are home-bound and receive a blessing through the airwaves? I feel sure that St. Blaise heard my prayers….

  16. carolg says:

    Cant get out. Still snowed in, drifts around the house are 5ft. Since we have a FSSP priest I rarely miss.

  17. Gulielmus says:

    As the youngest of five, I can remember being so jealous of my older brothers and sister for being able to receive communion before I could. I treasured the joy of having my throat blessed, receiving ashes, and venerating the Cross since I was able to do such things even at a young age.

  18. Rachel Pineda says:

    I voted no but God willing will receive the blessing tonight. Our good priests give the blessing. Thank God.

  19. pseudomodo says:

    I wasn’t planning on going, but the “Jack Hughes Incedent” changed my mind for the better and now I am going!

    This will be in thanksgiving for a cure to my chronic cough a few months ago, thanks be to God (and antibiotics)

  20. MJ says:

    I’m iced in! Can’t get out… :( Our FSSP priests will probably do the blessing this Sunday though (hopefully by then the roads will clear a bit!).

  21. Henry Edwards says:

    After OF Mass this morning, the priest blessed the throats of those who knelt at a row of about ten kneelers placed in front of the first pew to one side of the main aisle (since our modern church has no altar rail).

    Though it should be added that, for those who wished to stand, two adult male servers in surplice and cassock—having first knelt at kneelers in the sanctuary for their own throats to be blessed by the priest—proceeded to bless the throats of those processing in two lines down the main aisle.

    Hmm . . . kneel for blessing by priest, stand for blessing by lay minister. Apparently, ours is a fairly liberal-minded parish.

  22. I received the blessing from a priest this morning at Mass. I would definitely not receive the blessing from a lay person.

  23. DisturbedMary says:

    At Notre Dame in NYC, under the Polish Dominicans, all is done by the book. Father blessed our throats this morning; yesterday we all were given a candle to hold during the blessing and to take home after the Mass.

  24. Mark of the Vine says:

    Where might I find on-line the Latin text of the blessing of the candles? And a video of the blessing of throats as well?

  25. okiesarah says:

    Too snowy and icy here! Which makes me sad, since I got a sore throat and could really use a blessing now. But better a sore throat then a wrecked car.

  26. lacrossecath says:

    I substituted at CCD last night where the priest gave the blessing but also let one of the female teachers give blessings along side him. This was in a cafeteria and was certainly a manageable amount. It looked ridiculous. I had to bite my tongue – I rarely attend services at that church.

  27. Joan M says:

    I received the blessing from a priest this morning. There were 3 lay people also doing blessings. the priest’s line was by far the longest!

  28. nanetteclaret says:

    I had to vote “no.” There are no weekday Masses at our parish this week since our pastor is out of town – so nothing for Candlemas and nothing for St. Blaise Day. (Our pastor forgot to celebrate the Purification/Presentation last year, plus he had never heard it called “Candlemas,” so I wasn’t expecting anything anyway. )

  29. yatzer says:

    I usually do, from a priest, but there was a long line, and I was in the company of a hungry, tired, cranky 3 year old.

  30. sawdustmick says:

    Just got back from OF Mass. Had my throat blessed by a Priest, by the book.

    No lemsip here Jack, can’t take decongestants due to my heart drugs !

  31. MikeM says:

    Oh, drat. I forgot it was St. Blaise day. I’ve gotten it in the past, and always from a priest.

  32. Oneros says:

    “What the ordained do when they bless and what lay people do when they “bless” are different.”

    Generally, yes. I haven’t seen the form for lay people to do this in the Book of Blessings.

    However, it isn’t necessarily true. As Catholic Encyclopedia says, “Since, then, blessings, in the sense in which they are being considered, are entirely of ecclesiastical institution, the Church has the power to determine who shall have the right and duty to confer them.”

    Now, it’s generally always been priests except a few blessings that deacons and lectors could do, I think. And I don’t imagine the one in the Book of Blessings intends to change this (otherwise there wouldn’t be a separate formula).

    But strictly speaking, the Church could designate a lay person to bless if they wanted to set things up that way canonically. The power comes from the priest’s canonical standing, not from the Sacrament of Orders.

  33. PghCath says:

    Couldn’t make it today, but I appreciate the effort my local OF parish put into offering the blessing: it was offered at two masses, and two priests were available from noon-12:30 to bless throats outside of Mass.

  34. cursormundi says:

    After the 5.30pm Mass at Leeds cathedral this evening. Nearly all those who attended Mass stayed. The St. Blaise Day Blessing is part of our Catholic Identity!

  35. Brian says:

    It never bothers me who does the blessing. It’s God who blesses anyway, right? Ordained raise their hand(s) and make the sign of the cross. Lay people shouldn’t copy those gestures, but everything else is fine.

  36. Daniel Latinus says:

    Our parish gave the blessing of throats last Sunday.

    Most churches I have attended, either gave the blessing on Candlemas itself, on St. Blaise day itself, and on the Sunday following.

  37. Jacob says:

    The one time I got my throat blessed, I came down with a sore throat and could barely breathe the next morning. Nothing against St. Blaise, but I don’t go out of my way to get blessed now. :)

    Plus, like Supertradmom said, still digging out after the blizzard. :)

  38. carl b says:

    How can a layman give a blessing? As a seminarian, I was supposed to do this at the end of Mass, in my clerics, on Sunday, at a parish, and I refused. It was being called a blessing, and we were to use the same words as the priest, though w/o making the sign of the cross in blessing. Was it a good decision to refrain from doing this, or not, since it apparently is allowed?

  39. pseudomodo says:

    Hmmmmmnnnn…

    Lay blessings…

    What does the Catechism, Canon Law, or other authoritative document?

  40. teaguytom says:

    I went to Candlemas last night. Father is doing throat blessings today, but its at 7:30 am and you have to pay for parking downtown. He does a second blessing on Sunday after St Blaise. So there are blessings both days, not just transferred to Sunday. I’ll have my throat blessed Sunday.

  41. Oneros says:

    Can. 1168 The minister of sacramentals is a cleric who has been provided with the requisite power. According to the norm of the liturgical books and to the judgment of the local ordinary lay persons who possess the appropriate qualities can also administer some sacramentals.

    [in terms of what "some" means, the Code goes on to limit consecrations, dedications, and exorcisms specifically to presbyters or bishops only]

    If these requirements have been met, there is no difference between that lay person’s administration of that sacramental, a deacon’s, and a priest’s, except under the assumptions of a sort of clericalist superstition.

    I don’t know if the lay version of the blessing for St. Blaise invokes this or falls under this principle, if its existence in the book of blessings constitutes a “norm of the liturgical books” or if a specific dispensation by the Ordinary would be needed in each case, but these lay blessings very well COULD be the “same thing” as a priest’s.

  42. Josephus Muris Saliensis says:

    We were lucky to have this blessing from a Bishop tonight. Watching him give it, over and over again to everyone, in mitre, saying the words “Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr,…” was very powerful.

    How absurd to let laity give this blessing. Since when could the laity give blessings?

  43. Oneros says:

    “Since when could the laity give blessings?”

    Since 1983, canonically speaking.

    But the principle is as old as the Faith itself, as Catholic Encyclopedia says, “Since, then, blessings, in the sense in which they are being considered, are entirely of ecclesiastical institution, the Church has the power to determine who shall have the right and duty to confer them.”

  44. Girgadis says:

    I forgot today was the feast of St. Blaise, so at first I was wondering why we had so many people at the 6:30 Mass this morning. Unlike Ash Wednesday, when people seem to magically disappear after the dispensation of ashes, most folks stayed for the duration of the Mass. Three priests including the celebrant blessed throats after the homily. I also noticed that there were blessed candles at the foot of the Blessed Mother’s grotto from the day before. Because of the nasty weather yesterday morning, I went to a different church on Candlemas and while the priest gave a wonderful homily on the Presentation, he did not bless candles. Can’t have everything I guess.

    Lisa, lit candles sounds a bit daring. Eeeek!

  45. ipadre says:

    Thought it would look funny if I turned the candles on myself!

  46. green fiddler says:

    Does it count if you are home-bound and receive a blessing through the airwaves?

    Catherine, yes, I’m quite sure it counts. (My St. Blaise blessing today was received via tv Mass also. Our priest held the candles toward the unseen viewers as he prayed.) Similar to receiving a Sacrament of desire when it is not physically possible to be somewhere, we receive the grace according to our disposition.

  47. Paul says:

    I received the blessing from a priest today, and I am very thankful to Mother Church for taking care of her ill young ones. I have thyroid issues, and although that isn’t exactly the throat, I figured it’s close enough, and I received the blessing. Maybe, just maybe, I won’t have to go through some of the crazy treatments! St Blaise, pray for us!

  48. DetJohn says:

    This evening at mass, Father blessed the throats of four EMHC By saying the prescribed prayer and placing crossed candles on their throats and blessing them with the sign of the cross.

    The four EMHC then proceded to lay crossed candles on those that approached and say the prescribed prayer, they and the recipient then blessed themselves with the sign of the cross.

    Father also blessed the throats of those that were in his line in ths same manner as he did to the four EMCH.

    Father in turn had his throat blessed by an EMHC.

    Only 20% of those that approached for the blessing of their throat received a blessing from a priest.

    To me, the whole event was out of sorts.

  49. Sword40 says:

    I get so disgusted with our local OF parishes. Nothing was done today. No Masses any where. When I asked about it all I got was a “fish in the glass bowel” look from the office gal. A priest was not available. And its over 120 miles to the closest FSSP parish.

  50. Father G says:

    I look forward to the blessing of the throats every year. This is my second time as a priest that I get to give this blessing. I gave it this morning but as yet have not had my own throat blessed.

    I made an ecumenical visit to the local Armenian Apostolic church. Although Saint Blaise was Armenian, the blessing of throats does not exist in their tradition. It is practiced in some Armenian Catholic parishes.

    Regarding receiving the blessing with lit candles , I found this picture: http://www.schreibmayr.de/images/product_images/info_images/389_0.jpg

  51. Jakub says:

    Lay people blessing…arghhh

  52. michelelyl says:

    Last year, my choice as Pastoral Associate was to either not offer the St. Blaise Blessing to the children in the Religious Education Program, or do the lay blessing as a properly disposed lay person myself with the Pastor’s permission. No priests were available during the RE Session. We don’t have a Deacon, and there are no seminarians within a few hundred miles. So, last year, every child in the program and all their parents received the lay blessing.
    Many of them had never had their throats blessed…it had never been offered during RE for children before, and since we have not had a Catholic School open within 75 miles since 1988 they had not heard of this beautiful blessing before.
    This year, the Pastor was available and gladly blessed every single child and parent present…following our Candlemas Procession.

  53. Maryla says:

    The wording our priest used for the blessing was different to the customary one. It went something like this:
    “May whatever goes into your mouth and whatever comes out of your mouth be pleasing to the Holy Spirit.”
    At the end the priest blessed himself in the same way.

  54. irishgirl says:

    Father G-’lit candles for St. Blaise Day’? I saw the picture you supplied and I thought, ‘Yikes-the priest better have a steady pair of hands, and the recipient better not have long hair or clothes around the neck!’
    When I first read about the blessing in my old ‘Lives of the Saints’ book by Father Hoever (spelling?)-which I still have, BTW-I visualized lit candles touching somebody’s throat!
    What do you expect? I had a rather vivid imagination when I was a kid! [shrugs and rolls eyes]

  55. mpolo says:

    Here in Germany, the tradition is lit candles, which means that I usually kind of hold the joint of the candles under the chin and let the person bow their head a little if they wish. I still feel very nervous about doing it, though.

  56. irishgirl says:

    At the little TLM chapel I go to, the St. Blaise Blessing was done today.
    By a priest, of course….and with unlit candles!