On the feast of St. Blase, February 3, the blessing of the throat takes place. Two candles are blessed, held slightly open and press between the throat as the prayer of blessing is said.
Few facts are known about St. Blase. He was a bishop of Armenia who was martyred under the reign of Licinius in the early fourth century. St. Blase was born into a rich and noble family who raised him as a Christian. Then he became a bishop.
According to tradition, he received a special message from Jesus to go to the hills during a persecution. Hunters discovered him in a cave surrounded by animals. St. Blase was curing the ailments of these animals when discovered by the hunters. The hunters captured him due to the bounty on his head and brought him to the governor.
On coming down the mountain, St. Blase encountered a wolf who was about to kill a pig; he asked the wolf not to eat the pig because the pig belonged to an old woman. The wolf released the pig. Out of gratitude when St. Blase was in prison, the woman brought him bread and candles.
While in prison, his guard complained about pain on his throat. St. Blase touched his throat with a candle and his ailment was miraculously cured.The governor ordered his execution. Because of what he did to his guard, St. Blase became known as healer of those with throat ailments, and patron of doctors and veterinarians.
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Sheng Shen [Holy Spirit] Parish Anticipates New Year,
Celebrates Formal Church Opening, Blessing Ceremony
The Chinese Lunar New Year is the Year of the Rabbit [Hare]. Because of my travel commitments, we anticipated its celebration with enthusiasm and great joy on Sunday, January 23.Some Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, who were at the origin of the Chinese Catholic Mission some 55 years ago, came for the occasion (some from Montreal). Other visitors came from Toronto and elsewhere.
Because red is an auspicious colour in Chinese culture, it is permitted to wear this colour in New Year's celebrations (in a way it is legitimate, too, as the colour of the Holy Spirit, to whom the parish is dedicated).
Here are some scenes from the Liturgy and from the celebration afterwards in the Parish Hall: