Some years ago on the Feast of St. Blaise, I found myself in church, sitting beside a very famous British actor. I had read that this man identified himself as an atheist, so I wondered why he was attending Mass. When we reached the kiss of peace, I turned and extended my hand. He found this to be "delightful.
Just before the final blessing, the celebrant announced that the annual blessing of throats would take place immediately after Mass. I was in a bit of a hurry, so I started to leave. The actor leaned over and whispered, "Must not take chances, you know." I dutifully waited and had my throat blessed. ( For the record, I didn't catch a cold the rest of the winter and he didn't miss any performances of the play he was doing on Broadway.)n
As I walked home from church that day, I realized I knew very little about St. Blaise, so I looked him up.  He was a bishop of the early fourth century and also a physician. He miraculously cured a child who was choking on a fishbone and also healed animals. Actually, the tradition of blessing the throat with crossed candles may have something to do with Blaise's kindness to a suffering animal. One legend has it that when he was captured by Roman soldiers and was on his way to jail, he stopped to heal a pig that had been savaged by a wolf. The woman who owned the pig was so grateful that she sent two candles to light the dark prison cell into which Blaise had been thrown by the Romans.  Of course, St. Blaise's Feast also is observed the day after the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord or Candlemas Day, as it was long known
The Memorial of St. Blaise is this Saturday, Feb. 3rd. I'll be lining up—or should I say "queuing" up—to have my throat blessed. And somewhere in the world, I imagine that my actor acquaintance is, too. I hope you will do likewise. Must not take chances, you know.