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Do-it-yourself throat blessings

In these parts, throat blessings are hard to come by. No, make that near impossible. It’s just not done. At least not at our parish. So years ago I took it upon myself to do the blessings. And, yes, that’s allowed. The first time I blessed throats for my class of fourth-grade faith formation students, they looked at me in fear and asked if I was going to light those candles before holding them up to their throats. Ah, how sad that these kids don’t know some of the more interesting traditions of our faith. But once I told them about St. Blaise, a bishop and martyr who is said to have healed a boy who was choking on a fish bone, they were all in, and eagerly so.

So if you, like me, can’t find a priest to bless your throat, you just need two white candles, and if you’re able, a small red ribbon to tie them together. Form a cross with the candles, place them (unlit, of course) on the throat of your spouse or child or whoever else is willing to let you do this, and follow these instructions from the Book of Blessings:

1634 A lay minister touches the throat of each person with the crossed candles and, without making the sign of the cross, says the prayer of blessing.

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.

Each person responds: Amen.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Barb #

    Blessing throats is such a beautiful tradition in our Parish.
    My husband and I went around to the homebound parishoners and did the blessing. They loved it. We had planned to do it on St. Blaise Day but the forcast was for much snow so we did it on Sunday. .

    February 4, 2014
    • Mary DeTurris Poust #

      That’s great that you did that. It’s so sad that this tradition is falling by the wayside. 🙁

      February 4, 2014
  2. Christine #

    “…without making the sign of the cross…” Heaven forbid a lay person make the sign of the cross while praying for God’s blessing… We might believe they have the power to bring down the blessing of God…sorry…excuse my sarcasm…some of these distinctions between lay and sacred ministries truly need to be reconsidered. No one’s playing “priest,” but I think as a Christian, I should NEVER be prohibited from making the sign of the cross over my self, my children and those who come to me for prayer.

    February 4, 2014
    • Mary DeTurris Poust #


      February 4, 2014
  3. JR #

    White beeswax candles, (and I wouldn’t use other than beeswax – who wants to use toxic paraffin, even if unlit?), aren’t easy to come by here. Yellow beeswax candles are just going to have to do.

    I once received a blessing from a priest that put more of the healing within. The words of the prayer included something to the effect of not letting words of harm issue from this person, and speaking goodness. I’ve never been able to find that particular prayer, and wish I could, as it was beautiful. And, it made sense to take some responsibility.

    February 2, 2016
  4. Jim Agnew #

    It’s not that the lay person lacks the power to ‘call down the blessing of God’. It’s doing so in the name of the Church. The priest and deacon are public ministers and administer blessings as such.

    February 3, 2016

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