Requiem & Blessing of Throats
The Mass at 7 a.m. tomorrow would normally be that of St Blaise, but because a dear friend of mine, Steve Prestegard, has recently died, I am going to offer a Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul that morning before I go to D.C. where his funeral will be in the National Cathedral at 11 a.m on Thursday the Feb 4.
However, at the end of tomorrow’s Requiem Mass, we will still have the ceremony of the blessing of throats by the invocation of St Blaise.
Blaise was a 5th century Bishop in Armenia who gained a great reputation as a healer, and in particular for the healing of throats. So the custom grew up of blessing anyone who asked for a throat-blessing on his feast day, February 3. After the Mass, the people kneel again at the altar rail and the priest places candles shaped like a V on their necks, saying “By the prayers and merits of St Blaise, may God grant thee health and peace”.
I doubt if there will be long lines for this at 7 a.m. tomorrow, but never fear, the blessings will be repeated at the Masses on Sunday.