Beloved of God,
This Sunday we will celebrate Candlemas, which is also known as the Feast of the Presentation, and the Purification of Mary. It commemorates the biblical account of when Mary was allowed to return to the Temple after her 40 days of purification after giving birth. It was on this day that Simeon recognized Jesus as the "light to the gentiles" and Anna the prophetess proclaimed him the "redeemer of Jerusalem."
This Sunday is also called Candlemas, because in many churches throughout Europe candles were brought to church to be blessed. This practice is tied to the proclamation Simeon made of Jesus. We will follow this Candlemas tradition and bless candles at the beginning of our liturgy. (So if you'd like your own candles blessed, please bring them.) We will also have simple taper candles to distribute.
This Sunday is also the day before the Feast of St. Blaise. Legend has it that Blaise was a physician. He was made bishop and arrested during the persecution of the Christians. While in prison, he healed a boy who was choking. Thus, he is known as the patron saint for throats.
It is tradition that people call upon St. Blaise to aid in healing. On his Feast Day, blessings are traditionally offered with a pair of crossed candles. Following this practice, we will offer healing/blessings of folks immediately following mass this Sunday.
Finally, we should be mindful that Ash Wednesday is approaching. We encourage folks to begin bringing in their dried palm branches from last year (or years past). These are traditionally burned, ground and used in our Ash Wednesday service.
To read more, click more: https://conta.cc/38WhuFx