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Blessing of Throats will be offered

The traditional Blessing of Throats will be offered to assemblies this year as a safer alternative to individual blessings, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown has announced.

The Blessing of Throats is a sacramental of the Roman Catholic Church, ordinarily celebrated on or around Feb. 3, the feast of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr.

This year, Bishop Mark L. Bartchak has directed that the Blessing of Throats is to be given to all who are gathered, with the priest or deacon extending his hands over the assembly while reciting the prayer of blessing. Those gathered will then respond, “Amen.”

The group blessing differs from the usual manner of touching the throat of each person with crossed candles and eliminates the challenge of sanitizing the candles after they have touched each individual.

Bartchak instructed that the blessing be given during Mass at the conclusion of the General Intercessions. He recommended that the Blessing of Throats be offered at Masses on the weekends before and after the Feb. 3 feast day.

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