While traditionally prayed against the throat of each person, there is a provision that allows a priest to bless from a distance.
A popular tradition in many countries is the annual Blessing of Throats near the feast of St. Blase (February 3). It is a blessing that is inspired by the life of St. Blase, who was known to cure people with throat maladies during his life.
While the blessing may seem to be focused only on the throat, it has also been used to invoke God’s power to cure any illness. The priest typically prays the following prayer over the person.
Through the intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, the Book of Blessingspublished by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops explains the universal nature of the blessing.
In the United States the annual blessing of throats is a traditional sign of the struggle against illness in the life of the Christian.
As a result, the blessing takes on a new meaning in the “age of COVID,” as the world continues to struggle against the virus. It reminds us of our reliance on God and the reality that he has permitted this pestilence in his divine plan. We may not understand it, but we can turn to him for guidance and consolation.
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