Nonplussed, I went directly to Spell-Check, I did not pass Go, and I confirmed that We Are Both Right. The saint whose feast day we celebrated today answers us, whichever spelling we prefer.
I am not defensive or spiteful or OCD or anything like that, but I did happen to notice that the following websites all spell the name as I did: Blase.
• Holy Spirit Interactive
• St. Blase Catholic Church, Sterling Heights, Michigan
• Catholic On-Line
• Integrated Catholic Life
• Catholic Information Network
• Catholic News Agency
However, lest I grow smug, Blaise was the preferred spelling on these sites:
• American Catholic
• Catholic Encyclopedia
WHO WAS THIS ST. BLAISE/ST. BLASE GUY, ANYWAY?
An Armenian bishop, he was martyred around the year 316 A.D., during the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Licinius, for refusing to embrace the Roman state religion of Jupiter.
According to legend, St. Blase hid from the Roman authorities in a cave, where he tamed wild animals by blessing them. Local hunters came upon him, curing sick and wounded animals, and took him to the government. As he was being transported to prison, St. Blase encountered a mother whose young son was choking to death on a fishbone. Filled with compassion, Blase blessed the boy’s throat; the fishbone dissolved, and the boy’s life was saved.
Once in captivity, St. Blase was tortured, his skin shredded with wool-combs, and then he was beheaded.
Devotion to St. Blase began in the ninth century Armenia. In the 14th century, when the Black Death (bubonic plague) took the lives of many throughout Europe, the devotion to the “Fourteen Holy Helpers” grew up in Germany, Sweden and Hungary. St. Blase was one of these martyrs known for their intercession in case of sickness.
Still today in Bavaria, the Fourteen Holy Helpers are honored as the “vierzehn Heiligen,” and the Basilica of the Vierzehnheiligen is dedicated to these “Helper Saints.” A pilgrimage church named for the holy helpers, built in the rococo style in the rural hamlet of Bad Staffelstein, was erected between 1743 and 1772.
A PRAYER IN HONOR OF ST. BLASE
O God, deliver us
through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blase,
from all evil of soul and body,
especially from all ills of the throat;
and grant us the grace to make a good confession
in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon,
and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.