My wife and I named our sixth child “Blaise” after Saint Blaise. We often get comments because people think that we gave him an X-Games name like “Blaze” – you know, like a blazing fire.
So I’m on a crusade to promote devotion to Saint Blaise. Not only does our saint have a great name, he helps our family with the coughs and sore throats that plague families with little children. February is often a time marked by colds, throat infections, and respiratory illness. The patron saint of throat cures is Saint Blaise.
Today, many Catholics don’t know of him, but in the medieval era he was arguably one of the most popular saints of Christendom. By the eleventh century, there were 35 churches in Rome dedicated to Saint Blaise! In thirteenth century England, February 3 (the feast of Saint Blaise) was a national holiday on which all work was banned.
Saint Blaise was an Armenian physician who as elected as bishop of Sebaste (modern day Sivas, Turkey). He refused to deny Christ and so he was beaten, scraped with iron carding combs, and finally beheaded in AD 317. He is celebrated as a martyr and bishop on February 3 every year.
Saint Blaise is often depicted with the instruments of his martyrdom, steel combs. He thereby gained the patronage of wool combers and became very popular among English wool traders. Saint Blaise also cured a boy who was dying of a fish-bone stuck in his throat. Blaise is therefore the patron of throats, as well. Traditionally, priests bless the throats of Catholics on his feast day after Holy Mass.
Father Pio Maria Hoffman blessed our throats on the Feast of the Presentation (in anticipation of Saint Blaise) for the Troops of Saint George on our campout for Troop 1 (Prima inter Pares), Troop 31 (three-in-one), and Troop 77 (the Magnanimous 77th). Here’s a photo:
Here’s a photo of the consecration:
A special thanks to Father Pio who celebrated such a beautiful and reverent Mass for the Troops of Saint George.