This weekend immediately after each Mass parishioners are invited to have their throats blessed in honor of the feast of St. Blaise. Blaise was a 4th century physician, and bishop of Sebastea in historical Armenia. From being a healer of bodily ailments, Saint Blaise became a physician of souls, then retired for a time to a cavern where he remained in prayer. As bishop of Sebastea, Blaise instructed his people as much by his example as by his words, and the great virtues and sanctity of the servant of God were attested by many miracles. From all parts, the people came flocking to him for the cure of bodily and spiritual ills. He is said to have healed animals (who came to the saint on their own for his assistance) and to have been assisted by animals. In 316, the governor of Cappadocia and Agricolaus began a persecution by order of the Emperor Licinius and Saint Blaise was seized. After his interrogation and a severe scourging, he was hurried off to prison, and subsequently beheaded.