It’s Saint Blaise’s Day – the day where you can get your throat blessed by the imposition of candles.
St Blaise, according to legend, cured a boy of choking on a fishbone and, since then, he has been invoked as an intercessor for good health. Fr Owen will give blessing of throats and say the prayers for the sick at St Luke’s Chapel in Withybush hospital at 2pm today.
St Blaise was the bishop of Sebastea in Armenia in the early 4th century. While the truth of the fishbone story is debated, it is known that many people went to him for prayers when they were sick and that he cured many of them. There are ancient medical texts in which he is referenced. During a persecution he was taken captive and attacked with spiked iron paddles before being martyred by beheading. He is the patron saint of wool manufactures because the instrument of his torture resembled that of a wool-comber’s comb, called a carding tool (pictured).
There is another legend: On the way to Sebastea, Blaise met a poor woman whose pig had been taken by a wolf. At the command of Blaise, the wolf returned the pig to its owner, safe and well. Later, while Blaise was in prison awaiting execution, the woman whose pig he’d saved came to see him. She gave him two wax candles as a gift to light his prison cell. Hence the blessing with candles which were themselves blessed yesterday.
February 2nd is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, sometimes known as Candlemas. The feast recalls the Jewish purification rites, which would have taken place 40 days after the birth of a child. It was on this occasion when Mary offered sacrifices for her and her son’s purification, and also when the Holy Family met Anna and Simeon in the temple.
We recall on this day, and on Good Friday, the prophecy of Simeon that “a sword shall pierce you own soul too, so that the secret thoughts of many might be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).
On this day’s Mass, the candles that are to be used for the next liturgical year are blessed, hence the common name for the day ‘Candlemas’. Each member of the congregation also gets to keep a blessed candle for use in their home. Traditionally this candle was used to light the way of the priest from the font door of the home to the sick bed, when he was bringing Holy Communion to the ill and dying. Many still like to keep to this practice and it is not uncommon to be met at the door of the house with a lit candle when arriving with the Blessed Sacrament. Others light their candles in times of strife as an act of prayer– the polish community light their candles in heavy storms and pray for good weather to return.
Two of the candles, which are blessed on this day, are then used the following day, February 3rd, the day of Saint Blaise. St Blaise cured a child of choking on a fishbone and, as such, he has become the patron saint of illnesses of the throat. The blessing of throats, by invoking the intercession of St Blaise, is carried out on this day by placing the two candles across the throats of the faithful.
Our Advent Youth Retreat takes place from Friday 19th December to Sunday 21st December.
If you are at Secondary School age to University Graduation come and join us in the hall for our Advent retreat. Sign up in the Church porch and bring a sleeping bag! There will be talks, Q&A sessions, games, prayer, reflections and prayer time.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
As Remembrance Services start to take place around the country and Commonwealth, we too here in Haverfordwest and Narberth call to mind and pray for those who have given their lives for our peace and freedom. We will remember them at every weekend Mass.
To all those who helped contribute to the Marian evening, thank you very much. Such a successful evening does just happen by itself. From the those who decorated the church, to those who provided music, from those who helped in the planning and those who provided refreshments, and of course those who helped to tidy up: you all did your bit. Well done and thank you.
Fr Liam has had many comments from those who enjoyed the video presentation and found it informative… and many more comments from those who liked the candle-lit Rosary prayer service.
Marian Prayers by Candlelight
A fitting end to the month of the Rosary! More pictures can be found here.
An evening of Marian devotion to end the Month of the Rosary.
Thursday 30th October, 7pm, St David and St Patrick Catholic Church.
The evening will start with a video presentation looking at Marian apparitions and theology. Then there will be chance for tea, coffee and some light bites, which will be followed by a candle-lit prayer service incorporating many Marian Prayers and devotions – including the Rosary.
You must be logged in to post a comment.