Today is Saint Patrick’s Day. Unlike other years, this year hardly feels like a celebration. But perhaps this year is a chance to see a more accurate sense of Saint Patrick the man than lots of drinking.
You may be in a parish who blessed throats this past weekend, or even today. February 3 is the day we celebrate Saint Blaise, and a long tradition in the Catholic Church has associated him with the blessing of throats. This is because of a story told where a mother brought her young boy to Saint Blaise when he was choking on a fish bone. Saint Blaise, who was a physician when he was made bishop, miraculously save the boy. A holy man committed to the faith, when told to renounce his faith, he would not do so. Tortured and killed, his prayers were seen as a powerful protection against diseases of the throat. Perhaps less known was his life as a hermit and a deep man of prayer. The prayer of blessing is this: “Through the intercession of St. 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.”