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Feast of St. Blaise: Do-it-yourself throat blessings

These days — especially in the time of COVID — throat blessings are hard to come by. No, make that near impossible. It’s just not that common anymore, even in the best of times. 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.

St. Blaise, pray for us!

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