J.M.J. Saint Blase, Bishop and Martyr, is remembered for having intervened when a boy was choking on a fishbone. We turn for information about Saint Blase to The Catholic Encyclopedia, which is available on the Website of New Advent (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/). Saint Blase is referred to as "Blasius" in Latin.
"It can perhaps be assumed that St. Blasius was a bishop and that he suffered martyrdom at the beginning of the fourth century. (. . . .) According to the legend Blasius was a physician at Sebaste before he was raised to the episcopal see. At the time of the persecution under Licinius he was taken prisoner at the command of the governor, Agricolaus. The hunters of the governor found him in the wilderness in a cave to which he had retired and while in prison he performed a wonderful cure of a boy who had a fishbone in his throat and who was in danger of choking to death. After suffering various forms of torture St. Blasius was beheaded; the Acts relate also the martyrdom of seven women.
"In many places on the day of his feast the blessing of St. Blasius is given: two candles are consecrated, generally by a prayer, these are then held in a crossed position by a priest over the heads of the faithful or the people are touched on the throat with them. In other places oil is consecrated in which the wick of a small candle is dipped and the throats of those present are touched with the wick. At the same time the following blessing is given: 'Per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo' (May God at the intercession of St. Blasius preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil). In some dioceses is added: 'in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus' and the priest makes the sign of the cross over the faithful. In the Latin Church his feast falls on 3 February, in the Oriental Churches on 11 February. He is represented holding two crossed candles in his hand (the Blessing of St. Blasius), or in a cave surrounded by wild beasts, as he was found by the hunters of the governor."
Mary, Health of the Sick, pray for us.