Three feast days are approaching next week – all within just a few days of one another! The feast day you are probably most familiar is the feast of St Brigid on February 1. So you will no doubt be gathering bunches of rushes this weekend to make St Brigid’s cross.
Traditionally, her crosses are made the day before her feast day on January 31, which just so happens to be the feast of St John Bosco. And a few days after this, is the feast of St Blaise on February 3.
St John Bosco is the patron saint of many things, but most notably of children. This is for the work he did for poor, neglected boys. Story has it that when he was a young boy, he cheerily greeted a priest one afternoon. When the priest didn’t return the warm greeting, John Bosco was hurt and disappointed and so he proclaimed that when he grew up, he would become a priest and always be kind to children.
John is also known as patron saint of magicians, and it was his flair for magic tricks, as well as his kindness and dedication that made him popular among children.
In Ireland, St Brigid’s Day marks the beginning of Spring. For the feast day, make her cross out of strips of paper and write the prayer associated with her over the four arms of the cross. And seeing as John Bosco and Blaise’s feast days are so close to hers, you can make two more crosses and also write the prayers associated with them across the arms. This way you can create a link between all three saints.
St Blaise is the patron saint of sore throats and wool. His icon is usually depicted with him holding two candles in the form of a cross.
In Germany, on Blaise’s feast day, they have a blessing of the throats ceremony, and this motion with the candles is made across a person’s throat.
Seeing as St Blaise’s feast day falls on a Friday, organise an after school quiz with your family for the weekend. Base the questions on facts about all three saints and award whoever gets the most points with a small token associated with one of the saints, such as a medal or prayer card, or small book about their life.