4th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C - 31st January, 2016

Blessings

During this coming week we celebrate two Feasts which have blessing rites connected with them. On February 2nd, we commemorate the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple and on February 3rd, we honour the Bishop and Martyr, St. Blaise.

The feast of the Presentation is kept 40 days after Christmas, when Mary and Joseph in accordance with Jewish tradition, brought their infant child Jesus to the Temple and presented him to God.

Sometime during the fifth century the blessing of candles for Church and home use was introduced and the feast became popularly known as Candlemas Day. The blessing of candles is one of the three principal popular blessings conferred by the Church during the liturgical year. Ashes and palms are the other two.

Blessed candles are a sacramental. The theme of "light" is beautifully expressed in the prayer of blessing of the candles: "God, our Father, source of light, today you revealed to Simeon your Light of revelation to the nations. Bless these candles and make them holy. May we who carry them , praise your glory, walk in the path of goodness and come to the Light that shines for ever."

Candles will be blessed here at Sacred Heart after the 10.00 a.m. Mass on Tuesday, 2nd February. Should you wish to have candles blessed for your home, and you are unable to attend, please label your candle and leave it in the basket at the front of the altar for collection at a later date.

St. Blaise was a bishop and martyr who died in the early fourth century. He is associated with the healing of throats. The legend told states that St. Blaise miraculously saved a person choking on a fish bone. Regardless of the veracity of the story, we know that the saints are among the blessed who can be of assistance to us in need. The words of the blessing are: "Through the intercession of St. Blaise, 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. This blessing may be given by a priest or a deacon, or a lay minister if need be. However, the lay minister would not make the sign of the cross over the person being blessed.

There will be Blessing of throats during the 10.00 a.m. Mass on Wednesday 3rd February.

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.