Tuesday 9th February 2016

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Blaise And The Candles

January 27, 2014 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

Candles have a deep and lovely history in the Catholic Church. Candles have an aura of peace and quiet. They represent the light of the world, Jesus Christ, in many of our liturgical celebrations.
In the early days of February, the Church celebrates two feasts regarding candles. On February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord begins with the Blessing of Candles Procession. On February 3, St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, has an optional memorial Mass.
Many centuries ago, about the time of the 11th century, the blessing of the candles to be used in the liturgy for the following year took place on this day. It is reminiscent of the Light of the World being brought into the Temple.
In those bygone days, the ceremony began outside the church. The candles, made of beeswax, were passed to the faithful as the Canticle of Simeon, Nunc Dimittis, was sung (Luke 2:29-32). The candles were then lit.
As members of the congregation processed into the church, they sang, “Adorna thalamum tuum, Sion.”

Adorn thy bridal chamber, O Sion,
And receive Christ the King:
Embrace Mary, who is the gate of Heaven,
Who herself truly brings the glorious King of new light.

She remains a virgin, though bearing in her hands
A Son begotten before the daystar,
Whom Simeon, taking him in his arms,
Proclaimed to the people to be the Lord
Of life and death, and Savior of the world.

After entering the church, those in the procession sang the Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-80). The Mass then continued with the Gospel reading of Luke 2:22-40.
Although the liturgy has been simplified since those times, the lay faithful are encouraged to attend this celebration as it is one of the more important ones, having the rank of a feast rather than just a memorial or an optional memorial.
The second tradition, February 3, is the optional memorial of St. Blaise. Although there is very little known about this saint, there are many celebrations and observances that date back centuries in both the Western and Eastern Churches. (The Eastern Church celebrates his feast on February 11.)
In the late third century, Blaise was born to a wealthy and very influential family in the vicinity of Armenia. He was raised as a faithful Christian with a gentle and pious nature. He must have received an education of some sort since he became the bishop of Sebastea in Armenia at a very young age, according to his legend.
When another persecution arose, the bishop, evidently by divine inspiration, removed himself to the mountains where he lived a solitary life in a cave. His nature, like that of St. Francis of Assisi, attracted even the wild animals, who came to him freely. Many were injured animals whom St. Blaise cured through his ministrations to them. According to some writings, if the animals came to him while he was in meditation and prayer, they would wait patiently until he was done.
One day, while he was tending the beasts, some hunters came upon him. Despite the issuance of the Edict of Milan, the persecutions in Asia Minor were resumed under Emperor Licinius. Knowing that Blaise was a Christian, the hunters forced him to return to face Agricolaus, the governor of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia.
On the way, many miracles occurred by the intercession of St. Blaise. He cured man and beast alike. Two particular marvels are worthy of mention since traditions arose from them that are still observed to this day.
First of all, Blaise and his guards met a poor woman who was bewailing the loss of her pig. It had been carried off by a wolf. To a person of poverty, a pig was a very valuable asset. Upon learning of her plight, St. Blaise, commanded the wolf to return the pig to the distraught woman. To the amazement of his captors, not only did the wolf return the pig, but he did so without having harmed the pig in any way. The thankful woman would later play an important role.
The other incident which led to the blessing of throats involved a boy. His mother had heard of the many miracles wrought by St. Blaise, so she rushed to him with her young son who had been choking on a fish bone. St. Blaise prayed over him and he was completely healed.
Owing to this and many other cures throughout the years, both before and after his death, Blaise has become the patron saint of those suffering from throat ailments.
The guards continued their journey with their prisoner until they reached the governor. At the governor’s order, Blaise was scourged and put in prison. Furthermore, he was not allowed to have any food and was left in the dark dungeon.
However, the woman with the restored pig did not forget the favor which St. Blaise had done for her. In thanksgiving, she brought food to the prisoner as well as candles to light the darkness. Thus, the blessing of throats with candles became the tradition in the church in honor of this saint.
Yet another tradition developed among the wool combers. When Licinius learned that Blaise had not died, he ordered him tortured again with various instruments of a gruesome nature. One instrument was the comb used by wool gatherers to comb out the shearings from the sheep for weaving.
In the end, Blaise was beheaded in 316.
The wool combers have taken him as their patron saint as well. For centuries, he has been honored with celebrations in Norwich in England. The Norwich Woolcombers Guild developed a great devotion to St. Blaise with many activities, prayers, and followers. In fact, during the Protestant persecutions in England that began with Henry VIII, the king’s henchman dared not disturb those celebrating the Feast of St. Blaise since the wool combers were both wealthy and powerful. To this day the celebrations go on.
In France and Germany, there are also a number of churches that claim to have Blaise’s relics and celebrate his feast with great fanfare. Here in the United States, many families attend Mass on this day to have their throats blessed. At the end of Mass, the priest holds the candles in the form of St. Andrew’s cross, which is similar to the letter X. The candles are held either on the throat or over the head as the person is blessed to protect from any afflictions of the throat throughout the coming year.
Dear St. Blaise, you followed where God led you and by your intercession many have been healed. May we, by your powerful intercession remain faithful despite the sufferings and persecutions that may come our way. Pray for us that we may increase in faith, hope, charity, and patience in order to give greater glory to God now and forever. Amen.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading

‘Justice has been served’ – Bishop Conley on why he invited Bishop Finn to Lincoln

Lincoln, Neb., Feb 5, 2016 / 11:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln defended his decision to allow Bishop Robert Finn, former bishop of Kansas City, Mo., to take a position as chaplain of a community of…Continue Reading

Marco Rubio, David Daleiden; Chi-Town priest ‘outs’ himself

The young investigative journalist and pro-life activist David Daleiden – whom GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio recently defended – will present himself before Judge Brock Thomas in Houston on February 4. Peter Breen, special counsel for the Thomas More Society,…Continue Reading

Catholic Italy mobilises as conservatives mount last stand against same-sex unions

It has been 2,000 years since Romans gathered at the Circus Maximus to watch chariots roar around the racetrack, but a new battle was brought to the ancient site on Saturday . Clutching banners reading “We defend our children” and…Continue Reading

New documents prove Planned Parenthood profited from selling aborted body parts: pro-life group

HOUSTON, January 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life organization has released documents that may show Planned Parenthood illegally profited from the sale of aborted babies’ body parts, furthering a Texas state investigation and possibly triggering a new grand jury in…Continue Reading

TRUMP’S SPOKESWOMAN MUST APOLOGIZE

Bill Donohue comments on a remark made by Donald Trump’s national spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson: On December 18, 2011, Katrina Pierson sent the following tweet: “Just saw a commercial from Catholic Church stating that Catholic Church

Faithful Catholic Education Offers Understanding of True Freedom, Says Archbishop Lucas

Catholic education prepares students to live a life of faith, but also offers students a true understanding of God-given freedom in an environment in which they can grow in virtue, said Archbishop George Lucas of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb.,…Continue Reading

NFL star who refused to meet Obama over abortion gives powerful talk at March for Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – All the speakers at the 2016 March for Life play a pivotal role – but only one was regularly called an MVP. Matt Birk, the former center for the Minnesota Vikings and the…Continue Reading

2016 March for Life heats up blizzard-stricken Washington (PHOTOS)

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The blizzard snows are falling on the nation’s capital, layering the city in a blanket of frost that could be two to three feet thick by tomorrow morning. But for awhile this afternoon,…Continue Reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Planned Parenthood Offices Located Near Half of Catholic Colleges, Alarming Pro-Life Leaders

Half of all four-year, residential Catholic colleges in the U.S. are within five miles of Planned Parenthood facilities, a study by The Cardinal Newman Society has found. Catholic pro-life leaders warn that the close proximity of these Planned Parenthood centers…Continue Reading

81 percent of Americans support dramatically stronger pro-life reforms: Poll

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – An overwhelmingly majority – including two-thirds of self-described “pro-choice” Americans – would support greatly strengthening laws that protect the unborn, according to a new poll released this morning. In all, 81 percent of…Continue Reading

New initiative aims to make Catholic men ‘watchmen’

For years, Chad Crow has attended the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ annual conference for men. And the father of four, who is a parishioner at Transfiguration in Oakdale, said that he and other men who attend the conference…Continue Reading

Vatican Parishes Are Now Welcoming Refugees

Diocese of Rome Responds to Holy Father’s September Invitation for Parishes to Host a Family of Refugees January 15, 2016  By ZENIT Staff Responding to Pope Francis’ appeal this September, Vatican parishes have begun welcoming refugee families. In his Sept.…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope’s Angelus reflection: Trust in the word of the Lord

(Vatican Radio) Do not be afraid but trust in the word of the Lord: that was Pope Francis message to the crowds gathered in a windswept St Peter’s Square on Sunday for the recitation of the Angelus prayer. The Pope based his reflections on the Gospel reading which tells the story of Jesus calling his first disciples by Lake Galilee. After fishing all night without a catch, they are washing their nets when Jesus gets…Continue Reading

Christie and Bush attack Cruz, Rubio for being too pro-life

Fr. Mark Hodges WASHINGTON, D.C., February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-lifers across the nation are scratching their heads and saying, “With friends like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush, who needs enemies?” Their frustration comes from both Christie and Bush attacking other presidential candidates as unelectable because they are pro-life without compromise. This morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie attacked Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio for not favoring aborting children conceived in…Continue Reading

INTERVIEW: Padre Pio In Rome: Saints as Living Icons of Divine Mercy

Stefano Campanella, Director of Padre Pio TV and Author of Publications on the Friar of Pietrelcina, Reflects on Significance of the Historic Transfer •February 4, 2016•Osvaldo Rinaldi• Stefano Campanella, born in 1964 in Putignano, Italy, lives with his family at San Giovanni Rotondo. He has been a parliamentary journalist and Vatican expert. Currently, he serves as director of Padre Pio TV and heads the press office of the religious province of Sant’Angelo and Padre Pio…Continue Reading

Pope: The Faith is the greatest inheritance we can leave

(Vatican Radio) The most beautiful inheritance we can leave to others is the Faith: that was Pope Francis’ message during Holy Mass on Thursday morning at the Casa Santa Marta. In his homily, he invited us to not fear death, because the course of life continues. Thinking about death illuminates life The day’s first reading tells the story of the death of King David. “In every life there is an ending,” the Pope said. This…Continue Reading

The Pope: consecrated life must be close to the people

pope301

Vatican City, 2 February 2016 (VIS) – The following are extensive extracts of the Holy Father’s extemporaneous address to the participants in the Jubilee of Consecrated Life, which took place yesterday in the Paul VI Hall. This afternoon in St. Peter’s Basilica he will celebrate the Mass to conclude the Year of Consecrated Life. “I have prepared a text for this occasion regarding the themes of consecrated life and three of its most important pillars:…Continue Reading

Begging For Mercy

By DONALD DeMARCO When we do not hear another person’s words correctly we say, “I beg your pardon.” A moderator appears on stage and apologizes for a momentary inconvenience by saying to the audience, “I beg your indulgence.” These words flow easily from our lips, usually without much reflection. They have become automatic responses, polite…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “How Dissenters Attack The ‘Holiness’ Of The Church”

By BRIAN CLOWES Conclusion (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of the book Call to Action or Call to Apostasy, consisting of a detailed description of the current forms of dissent and how to fight them, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.)…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . The New Literalism And Fundamentalism

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Sources, Methods, And Lives

By JUDGE ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO This has not been a good week for Hillary Clinton. She prevailed over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses by less than four tenths of one percent of all votes cast, after having led him in polls in Iowa at one time by 40 percentage points. In…Continue Reading

Is A New Era Upon Us?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Whoever wins the nominations, the most successful campaigns of 2016 provide us with a clear picture of where the center of gravity is today in both parties and, hence, where America is going. Bernie Sanders, with his mammoth crowds and mass support among the young, represents, as did George McGovern in…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . Jesus Gave Witness In The Public Square

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “Seems to me that Jesus wants us to love our neighbors and leave the judging up to Him.” This is a typical response of many people when they encounter the Church and her members witnessing to their faith by speaking out on moral teachings in the public square. Christian witness in a visible, public way…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . Hostility Against The Church

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 40 Fourth objection: Why do so many people have hostility to the Catholic Church? Reply: Why was Jesus the object of hostility from so many people? In simple terms, the Pharisees may have refused Him as they could not accept His doctrine and felt threatened by His power to perform miracles. The Sadducees may…Continue Reading

Life Everlasting — The Particular Judgment

By DON FIER In concluding our examination of the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on article 11 of the Creed, we saw that in order “to rise with Christ, we must die with Christ” (CCC, n. 1005). Death, with all the mystery which surrounds this common fate of all mankind, is the gateway to everlasting life.…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I know that in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are supposed to practice more fervently the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Most of these are fairly easy to understand, but I wonder about the one that says we are to “admonish the sinner.” How can one do that without judging another person, which we’re not supposed to…Continue Reading

One Truth, One Lord, One God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER First Sunday Of Lent (YR C) Readings: Deut. 26:4-10 Romans 10:8-13 Luke 4:1-13 In the Gospel reading today we hear about Satan tempting our Lord. In the third temptation the Devil offers all of the kingdoms of the Earth to Jesus if He would just bow down and worship the tempter. In response, our Lord quotes…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Boleslava Maria Lament

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church observes the Church Unity Octave from January 18 through January 25. For each day of the octave, we pray for a different form of unity. For example, on January 18, the intention is for the return of separated Eastern Christians to communion with the Holy See. Another day the intention is for the restoration…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Vincent Pallotti

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of the Church, beginning with Christ Himself, disenfranchised youth have found a friend in the followers of the Lord. St. John Bosco and St. Philip Neri come to mind. There is another saint who also helped both young men and young women, St. Vincent Pallotti, a man born and raised in Rome during the…Continue Reading