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February, 2014 - Overview for the Month

The month of February is dedicated to the Holy Family. This year the entire month of February falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time which is represented by the liturgical color green. Green, the symbol of hope, is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection.

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of February 2014

General: That the Church and society may respect the wisdom and experience of older people.

Missionary: That priests, religious, and lay people may work together with generosity for evangelization. (See also www.apostleshipofprayer.net)

Feasts for February

The feasts on the General Roman Calendar celebrated during the month of February are:

2. Presentation of the Lord, Feast
3. Blaise; Ansgar, Opt. Mem.
5. Agatha, Memorial
6. Paul Miki and Companions, Memorial
8. Jerome Emiliani; Josephine Bakhita, Opt. Mem.
9. Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday
10. Scholastica, Memorial
11. Our Lady of Lourdes, Opt. Mem.
14. Cyril and Methodius, Memorial
16. Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday
17. Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites, Opt. Mem.
21. Peter Damian, Opt. Mem.
22. Chair of St. Peter, Feast
23. Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sunday

Focus of the Liturgy

The Gospel readings for the Sundays in February are taken from St. Luke and St. Matthew and are from Year A Cycle 2 of the readings.

February 2nd - Presentation

"Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord."

February 9th - Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jesus said to His disciples, "You are the salt of the earth."

February 16th - Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

In this Gospel Jesus says that He came to full the law not abolish it.

February 23rd - Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jesus says to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Highlights of the Month

The month of February is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Family. Between the events which marked Christmas and the beginning of Christ's public life the Church has seen fit to recall the example of the Holy Family for the emulation of the Christian family.

The Feast of the Presentation (February 2) or Candlemas forms a fitting transition from Christmas to Easter. The small Christ-Child is still in His Mother's arms, but already she is offering Him in sacrifice.

The saints that we will focus on this month and try to imitate are St. Blaise (February 3), St. Agatha (February 5), St. Paul Miki & Companions (February 6), St. Jerome Emiliani and St. Josephine Bakhita (February 8), St. Scholastica (February 10), Our Lady of Lourdes (February 11), Sts. Cyril and Methodius (February 14), Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites (February 17), Peter Damian (February 21), and the Chair of St. Peter (February 22).

The feast of St. Polycarp (February 23) will not be celebrated this year because it is superseded by the Sunday liturgy.

From Feast to Fast

Though the shortest month of the year, February is rich in Liturgical activity, for it typically begins in one Liturgical Season (Ordinary Time), ends in another (Lent), and contains a feast (Presentation of our Lord) that bridges two other seasons (Christmas and Easter)! In addition, the faithful may receive in February three of the four major public sacramentals that the Church confers during the liturgical year: blessed candles, the blessing of throats and blessed ashes.

The Solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd harkens back to the Christmas mystery of Light except that now, Christ, the helpless babe, is “the Light of Revelation to the Gentiles who will save his people from their sins.” Candles, symbolizing Christ our Light, will be carried in procession this day, as will be the Paschal candle during the Easter Vigil Liturgy.

"The Light of Revelation" shines more brightly with each successive Sunday of Ordinary Time, until its magnificence – exposing our sinfulness and need for conversion – propels us into the penitential Season of Lent. We prepare to accept the cross of blessed ashes on Ash Wednesday (March 5) and plunge ourselves into the major exercises of Lent – fasting, prayer, almsgiving – laying our thoughts and prayers on the heart of our Mother Mary. She, who offered her Son in the temple and on the Cross, will teach us how to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow after her Son.

Ideally, the members of the domestic church should try to have the candles for their home altar blessed on Candlemas Day (February 2nd); and the next morning, on the Feast of St. Blaise, all might receive the blessing of the throats. Always a solicitous Mother, the Church offers this sacramental during the wintry month of February, and also sets aside the World Day of Prayer for the Sick on February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.
Highlights
This feast is a festival of light. The procession, in which the blessed candles are carried by clergy and faithful, recalls by its symbolism the manifestation of Christ, the Light of the world, received in the temple. "A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel."
Recipe of the Month
Heart Cakes
St. Valentine's Day is a joyful feast, and there's no better way to observe it than by exchanging sweet, heart-shaped confections.
Activity of the Month
Candlemas Ceremony
The family, who with lighted candles goes in spirit to the Temple with our Lady, will learn a wonderful lesson of her humility.

Symbols
The bishop of Smyrna was condemned to death by burning. The flames refused to do their task, billowing about like sails, exposing the bishop's figure in a radiant light. A soldier used his spear to end the spectacle.
The sister of St. Benedict, and founder of a Benedictine convent not far from Monte Cassino. It is related that St. Benedict had a vision of a dove rising just before he received word of her death.
During the Decian persecution, St. Agatha, a Sicilian of noble birth, died under torture rather than break her vow of lifelong consecration to Christ.
The patroness of gardens is particularly well known in the little villages of southern Europe. Her feast is locally celebrated on Feb. 6. The symbol is descriptive of her zeal for the Faith.

"Jesus, who hast made Thyself obedient to Thy parents, to Thee be ever glory, with the supreme Father and with the Spirit."