Published January 29, 2013 by Our Lady of the Angels in Pastor's Corner

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of St. Blasé and the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Mother, better known as Candlemas Day.

St. Blasé was a 4th C Bishop from Armenia (now Croatia or the old Yugoslavia). Tradition tells us that he saved a small boy from choking on a fish bone. Because of this, people through the ages have sought his help, especially those who are afflicted with  ailments of the throat. On Feb. 3, the Feast of St. Blasé, the church continues its ministry to the sick through the blessing of throats.

The blessing, which usually takes place after Mass, asks God’s healing and protection. Two blessed candles, joined in the form of a cross and usually tied with a red ribbon as a sign of his martyrdom, are placed around the throat of each person asking a blessing. The minister (because this is a sacramental, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist are also commissioned to share this blessing) prays: “Through the intercession of St. Blasé, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” It has become so popular that in most Churches, the blessing is given at the Sunday masses closest to the Feast day.

Candlemas Day: On Feb. 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we bless candles for Church use.  Light penetrates the darkness. Jesus is light. God’s word is a lamp and lights a path for our feet. At our baptism we received a candle, along with this charge, “Keep the flame of faith burning in your heart. When the Lord comes may you go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom. The wax, being spotless, represents Christ’s most spotless Body; the wick enclosed in it is an image of His soul, while the glowing flame typifies the Divine Nature united with the human in one Divine Person. On the day the Church celebrates the festival of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, the day when Jesus was offered in the Temple by Mary, as the Victim who would reconcile God and humanity. This date was probably chosen because on or about that day the Roman people, when pagan, had been accustomed to carry lights in procession in honor of one of their gods. The Church, rather than trying to blot out entirely the memory of this pagan festival, changed it into a Christian solemnity honoring Mary the Mother of God by including on one of her feast days the solemn blessing of candles. Candles used in church services have to be 51% beeswax. Today it is very appropriate to gather the family, light a candle and rededicate yourselves to the Lord and to be a light to the world. Just say this prayer: “May the flame of faith in our hearts burn undimmed. When the Lord comes may we go out to meet him with all the Saints in the Heavenly Kingdom. Amen!”

Thanks for sharing your ‘light’ with your OLA family and welcoming our brothers and sisters from St. Elizabeth’s. God Bless!!

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