“Ask Father Kevin” – February 18, 2018

This question was asked after the St. Blaise bulletin information.

Question:  Lee Joret asked: “Father, St. Blaise is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, who are the others?”

Father Kevin: “Thanks, Lee for your interesting question!  My research revealed that the Fourteen Holy Helpers are a group of saints venerated together in Roman Catholicism because their intercession is believed to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases.  Their group of Nothelfer (“helpers in need”) originated in the 14th century at first in the Rhineland, largely as a result of the epidemic (probably of bubonic plague) that became known as the Black Death.

The Holy Helpers are listed below, with their feast days and their intercession.

Agathius: headache, May 7

Barbara: fever and sudden death, Dec. 4

Blaise: illness of the throat and for protection of domestic animals, Feb. 3

Catherine of Alexandria: against sudden death, Nov. 25

Christopher: bubonic plague and dangers while traveling July 25

Cyriacus: temptation on the death-bed, Aug. 8

Denis: headache, Oct. 9

Erasmus: intestinal ailments, June 2

Eustace:  family discord, Sept. 20

George: for the health of domestic animals, Apr. 23

Giles: plague, for a good confession, for cripples, beggars and blacksmiths, Sept. 1

Margaret of Antioch: during childbirth and escape from devils, July 20

Pantaleon: for physicians, and against cancer & tuberculosis, July27

Vitus: epilepsy, lightning and for protection of domestic animals, June 15

The “14 Angels” of the lost children’s prayer in Englebert Humperdinck’s fairy opera, “Hansel and Gretel” are the 14 Holy Helper.  The English words are familiar:

When at night I go to sleep, 14 angels watch do keep,

Two my head are guarding,

2 my feet are guarding,

2 upon my right hand,

2 upon my left hand.

Two who warmly cover

2 who o’er me hover

2 to whom ‘tis given

To guide my steps to heaven.

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