How many of you remembered to have your throat blessed on yesterday’s feast day of St. Blaise, patron saint of throat illnesses? I’ve done this for most of my life and have even experienced some special blessings while travelling abroad. Last night I went to vespers and Mass at San Giovanni dei Fiorentini and, at the end of Mass, the priest blessed the candles he used to bless our throats and then said a prayer over a basket of bread. After he blessed our throats individually, he distributed the bread among us. A very special evening!

PS. San Giovanni’s nativity scene was still up in a side chapel. In fact, many churches (and families) in Rome follow the tradition of the Christmas season ending on the February 2 feast of the Presentation (as I do in my home – that’s when decorations come down).


My special guest this week and next in the interview segment of “Vatican Insider” is Deacon Brad Easterbrooks. Currently studying at the North American College in Rome, he is looking at a special way to live his future priesthood – the life of a military chaplain! Brad, from San Diego, has a wonderful story to tell about his vocation but you really have to hear about his remarkable pre-seminary years – work at a consulting firm and on political campaigns, law school, then the Navy, work for JAG (remember the TV show “JAG” – Judge Advocate General) and then….. Well, to hear that story, tune in after the News segment!

In his Navy uniform

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.