Today is the feast day of St. Blaise in some Eastern and Orthodox churches. There is not a lot known about the Armenian but we do know that he was a physician and that he was martyred. In 316 he was arrested to be killed as many Christians were in the day. “As he was being led to prison, a mother set her only son, choking to death of a fish-bone, at his feet, and the child was cured straight away. Regardless, the governor, unable to make Blaise renounce his faith, beat him with a stick, ripped his flesh with iron combs, and beheaded him.” [Wikipedia] Sounds like an awful ending for a holy man. According to some legends they tried drowning him first but he floated atop the water and taunted his persecutors to come out and prove the power of their gods. They drowned trying to get to him. He was a healer and it is said that animals would come to him on their own for healing but would never disturb him when he was in prayer. (I love the legends of the saints). He is attributed then with interceding on behalf of choking people and for that matter with sore throats. Today it is customary in some churches to offer the blessing of St. Blaise. This tradition usually involves the blessing of two candles which are lit and held in a cross position under which the ailing come to be blessed. The priest would then offer these words; "May God at the intercession of St. Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil." I thought this might be an appropriate blessing to offer today as so many seem to be struggling with colds and the flu. I have heard a lot about sore throats in the past few weeks. So having said all of that – Happy St. Blaise Day to you!
Last night a group from the church attended a dinner/fundraiser for Hearts Together for Haiti. It was a great night for an excellent cause. It is another outreach that our parish has participated in before with our friends at St. Gregory the Great Parish. It is an excellent charity which has its roots at St. Greg’s with Fr. John Duarte who is in Haiti running the mission. I encourage you to take a look at what they do and support them where you can – it is a great witness to faith.
We are just a week away from our annual Vestry Meeting. Nest Sunday February 11 we will gather as church and celebrate where we have been and where we are going. There is much to consider and the hard work of the Markus Committee will be front and centre. There will be exciting proposals to look at and we will be challenged to look at new and exciting ways to continue to open our doors to the community around us. You can read all of the Vestry Report by downloading it from our parish website (Recently updated) at www.stmarkschurch.net . There will be printed copies for all parish members at the back of the church this Sunday morning and those not picked up will be mailed on Monday. Our meeting will be at 11:30 AM on February 11 with Lunch being served before we begin. If you are a part of this great parish – plan on being there – if not take a look at the materials online and watch with interest for more detail to follow after the meeting next week.