Blessing of Throats
The Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise (February 3)
January 14, 2021
Based on materials received from the Holy See and the USCCB this week, and the discussion at the Presbyteral Council meeting on January 14, we want to draw your attention to the following:
The USCCB has issued the following guidance with regard to the blessing of throats:
Note that the Book of Blessings contains the following provision for this rite:
1628. If, for pastoral reasons, each individual cannot be blessed in the manner described in no. 1627, for example when great numbers are gathered for the blessing or when the memorial of Saint Blaise occurs on a Sunday, a priest or deacon may give the blessing to all assembled by extending hands, without the crossed candles, over the people while saying the prayer of blessing. A lay minister says the prayer proper to lay ministers without making the sign of the cross.
The current circumstances would certainly be considered a sufficient pastoral reason to avoid administration of the blessing to individuals in the usual manner, should there be any concern of danger due to the ongoing pandemic.
So the blessing of throats can proceed. A communal form can be used, or, if in a particular parish the pastor decides that it is best to go forward with individual blessings, he can do so. Every effort should be made to maintain a reasonable distance between the parishioner and the person doing the blessing. Both parties must wear masks. All participants in the rite should be trained in how to do it safely.