Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Blessing of St Blaise

Saturday: The Sabbath. Morning Prayer was offered in the Rectory, before the regular administrative and preparatory tasks of the day, photocopying and the like to set up for Sunday. Tomorrow, after our 8am said Eucharist at St Mary's, I will celebrate the Solemnity of the Presentation in the Deanery at both Ripponden and Dean Head, (both churches, unusually for these parts, dedicated to St Bartholomew), during their Interregnum, before our Evening Vigil of Light back at All Saints, and the Candlemass Procession with Candles.

Mass this morning was of St Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, with prayers for the Irish Churches, and also, as is our usual practice on the first Saturday of the month, the Laying on of Hands and Anointing. Today, was also a chance to give the Blessing of throats, in honour of St Blaise. Blaise was a 3rd Century Armenian Bishop, grimly martyred by being torn with wool combs. As Patron of woolcombers, he has a named stall in both Wakefield & Bradford Cathedrals.

St. Blaise

He is also the patron of throats and diseases of the throat because he cured a boy who was choking to death on a fishbone. When Blaise was subsequently imprisoned the boy's mother brought him food and candles. From this arose the 'Blessing of St Blaise' which is given whilst a pair of crossed candles is held against the throat – a blessing still practised today, on or around his Memorial, 3rd February, either for the cure or prevention of diseases of the throat, or sometimes for the vocal health of singers and, indeed, church choirs.

Almighty God, who gave your servant Blaise the power to cure diseases of body and soul, and inspired him to love his flock even to the point of martyrdom: give to your Church the same power to love and to heal, and help us to know the joy of your praise and to sing your praise in this life and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 

The morning continued with our regular monthly Coffee Morning at St Mary's, and, after some family catch uptime, and Hospital Visiting, it will be time for the First Evening Prayer of this glorious Festival of Candlemass. Today is cold, with a biting wind, and, subsequently I have struggled all day with my hands and Raynauds Syndrome, making even turning the pages of a prayer book difficult. It will be in a heated study rather than a cold church where prayer is offered once more

Cross of St Brigid

In grateful remembrance of the hospitality received, some years ago,
by the Cathedral and City of Kildare.