The Sunday morning Mass at Bedford on 5 February saw an unusual ceremony taking place. As it had been the feast of St Blaise only two days earlier, Fr Horgan, our visiting celebrant, invited the congregation to come forward after Mass for a blessing of their throats. Many of them did so.
We knelt and the blessing was given with a pair of crossed candles which had been lit and extinguished a few moments before, with the candles either side of the throat and the words: ”By the intercession of St Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every malady of the throat, and from every possible mishap; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.
Not much is known about St Blaise, but in 316 he is said to have saved the life of a boy who was choking after swallowing a fish bone, hence his patronage of illnesses of the throat.