By Christina I. Hermoso
Individuals suffering from diseases of the throat are encouraged to seek the intercession of Saint Blasé (San Blas) today as the Roman Catholic Church marks the feast of the patron saint of individuals suffering from health problems involving the throat.
Commemorative masses, novenas, and the traditional blessing of throats will be held in many Catholic churches today in observance of his feast day. During the blessing, two blessed candles are held near the throat in the form of a cross while a short prayer asking for the intercession of St. Blasé against all forms of throat ailments is recited.
In the country, commemorative rites in honor of St. Blasé will be held in Sebaste, Antique, where a Eucharistic celebration, novenas, and a solemn procession will be held.
Known as a third century martyr, St. Blasé was a physician and a bishop of Sebaste, Armenia (Turkey). Many miraculous healings were attributed to him, including the healing of a child who was choking to death from a fishbone. Since the 8th century, his intercession has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those with throat problems.
St. Blasé died a martyr in the year 316. The Catholic Church listed him as one of the 14 Holy Helpers, the saints who were invoked together during the Black Plague which ravaged Europe from 1346 to 1349.