By Tony DeGol
The traditional Blessing of Throats will be offered to assemblies this year as a safer alternative to individual blessings.
The Blessing of Throats is a sacramental of the Roman Catholic Church, ordinarily celebrated on or around February 3, the feast of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr.
“The current pandemic is a sufficient pastoral reason to avoid the blessing of individuals in the usual manner of touching the throat of each person with crossed candles while saying the words of the blessing,” stated Bishop Mark in his directive to clergy. “Among the challenges is the sanitizing of candles after they have touched each person.”
This year, the Blessing of Throats is to be given to all who are gathered, with the priest or deacon extending his hands over the people while reciting the prayer of blessing, the Bishop directed. Those gathered will then respond, “Amen.”
Bishop Mark instructed that the blessing be given during Mass at the conclusion of the General Intercessions. He recommended that the Blessing of Throats be offered at Masses on the weekends before and after the February 3 feast day.