By Dan Wing

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — February 3rd marks the Catholic celebration known as the Feast of St. Blaise, the patron saint of those with ailments of the throat.

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And today, one of the traditional “Blessing of Throats” masses was held at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, on Logan Circle.

According to tradition, a woman threw herself at the feet of St. Blaise as he was being led into custody, which would eventually lead to his beheading, and begged him to help her only child who was choking on a fishbone.  He offered up his prayers, and the child was cured.

Now, St. Blaise is invoked for protection against injuries and illnesses of the throat.  Following a traditional mass, the blessing is offered by a priest who places two candles on the throat while reciting a brief prayer.

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The snow kept attendance at today’s mass light, but it didn’t scare off everyone.  Mike (no last name given) wasn’t there for any specific illness or throat problem, but says he wouldn’t miss it.

“I’m a devoted Catholic and I come to church,” he said.  “I don’t miss mass at all. I came all the way from South Philadelphia.”

St. Blaise is also known as the “Saint of the Wild Beast,” and was one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages.


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