Blessing of the Throats

Source: SSPX Ireland

The day after Candlemas marks the feast of St. Blaise. On this day it has been the practice in the Church to perform a blessing of the throats.

Before he was made Bishop of Sebaste (the modern day city of Sivas), St Blaise practiced as a physician. Much later, he was captured for the Faith, and en route to prison, he encountered a boy who was choking from a fish bone stuck in his throat. After praying over him, the boy was cured. Due to these two facts, St Blaise is a patron saint of physicians.

 Because of St Blaise’s miraculous intercession for this young boy, the Church composed a special blessing for throats to be performed on his feast day. This sacramental, just like any other, is a proof that the Church’s motherly care and concern is not only for the spiritual good of the faithful through the Mass and the sacraments, but also for their smaller daily needs. The timing of this blessing is also rather opportune, since sickness is not uncommon around this time of year.  In addition to ailments of the throat, this blessing also wishes a deliverance from every other evil, both material and spiritual.

Such a blessing is termed a “sacramental”. The sacramentals are not necessary because Our Lord didn’t institute them to give grace of themselves as the sacraments do. But they do give grace according to the devotion with which they are received. They are also very helpful in encouraging us to live out our Faith more fully, helping us to see that everything we do should become an act of worship, an opportunity for sanctification. Another example of sacramentals is the procession of the preceding day on Candlemas.

Let us strive to receive this blessing of St Blaise with renewed fervour, especially having in mind the intention of the Church – to deliver us from all evils.


The Blessing

Using two crossed and unlit candles, the priest touches the throat of each person, saying: Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from all ailments of the throat and from every other evil: + in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.