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March, 2014 - Overview for the Month

The month of March is dedicated to St. Joseph. The first four days of March fall during the liturgical season known as 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 remainder of the month falls during the liturgical season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart.

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

General: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.

Missionary: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel. (See also www.apostleshipofprayer.net)

Feasts for March

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

3. Katharine Drexel (USA), Opt. Mem.
4. St. Casimir; Fat Tuesday, Opt. Mem.
7. Perpetua and Felicity, Memorial
8. John of God, Opt. Mem.
9. First Sunday of Lent, Sunday
16. Second Sunday of Lent, Sunday
17. Patrick, Opt. Mem.
18. Cyril of Jerusalem, Opt. Mem.
19. Joseph, husband of Mary, Solemnity
23. Third Sunday of Lent, Sunday
25. Annunciation of the Lord, Sunday
30. Fourth Sunday of Lent, Sunday

Focus of the Liturgy

The Gospel readings for March are taken from St. Matthew and St. John. All are from Year A, Cycle 2.

March 2nd - 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time

In this Gospel Jesus tells us to trust God to provide for us.

March 9th - 1st Sunday of Lent

Jesus is tempted by the devil in the desert.

March 16th - 2nd Sunday of Lent

The Gospel relates the story of the Transfiguration of our Lord on Mt. Tabor.

March 23rd - 3rd Sunday of Lent

This Gospel is about the Samaritan woman meeting Jesus at the well.

March 30th - 4th Sunday of Lent

The Gospel tells the story of the blind man at the Pool of Siloam.

Highlights of the Month

As we continue our journey "up to Jerusalem" during the month of March, three prominent ideas are proposed for our contemplation by the liturgy of Lent: the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, baptism, and penance.

The Solemnity of St. Joseph (March 19) is a special landmark this month in which we will celebrate the great honor bestowed upon the foster father of Jesus. Also the Solemnity of the Annunciation (March 25) when we ponder Our Lady's fiat. And if you are Irish (who isn't), St. Patrick's feast is another cause for a joyful celebration.

The saints that we will focus on this month and try to imitate are St. Katharine Drexel (March 3), St. Casimir (March 4), Sts. Perpetua and Felicity (March 7), St. John of God (March 8), St. Patrick (March 17), St. Cyril of Jerusalem (March 18).

The feasts of St. Frances of Rome (March 9) and St. Toribio de Mogrovejo (March 23) are superseded by the Sunday liturgy.

A Time of Penance and Promise

Here and there in the stark March landscape, a few plants and trees are beginning to give evidence of the new life that winter’s frost and chill had concealed from our eyes. The Church’s vibrant new life has been obscured, too, by the austerity of the penitential season of Lent. But that life is indisputable, and it will burgeon forth on Easter as Christ coming forth from his tomb!

At the beginning of this month we will embark on our journey to the cross by receiving ashes and donning the purple of penance. We will reflect on our mortality ("Remember man thou art dust") and the shortness of life ("and to dust thou shall return"). We will heed the call, "Now is the acceptable time, now is “the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).” Just like Our Lord's earthly life every moment of our lives is leading up to the last moment—when for eternity we will either go to God or suffer the fires of hell.

Let us not tire of doing our good works and penance, but continue with the enthusiasm of the catechumens on their way to Easter and Baptism. May our Lenten observance be a joyful journey — and not a forced march. The Solemnity of the Annunciation bravely appears during Lent; a pure white flower in the purple Lenten landscape. It seems to be, at first glance, a Christmas feast, but upon reflection we grasp that the feast is intimately linked to the Paschal mystery. For what Christ inaugurated at His incarnation in accepting to offer himself for the human race, he will complete in his sacrifice on the cross.

As the weeks of Lent progress let us not tire of doing our good works and penance, but continue with the enthusiasm of the catechumens on their way to Easter and Baptism. May our Lenten observance be a joyful journey — and not a forced march.

The Lord has put his faithful servant in charge of his household.
Highlights
March 17
St. Patrick
St. Patrick is called the "Apostle of Ireland." He established the Catholic Church throughout Ireland on lasting foundations. He traveled all over the country preaching, teaching, building churches, opening schools and monasteries, converting chiefs and bards, and everywhere supporting his preaching with miracles.
Recipe of the Month
St. Joseph's Cream Puffs
For St. Joseph's Day try this simple of version of a special dessert for the Solemnity of St. Joseph called St. Joseph's Sfinge.
Activity of the Month
St. Joseph's Table
The Solemnity of St. Joseph is celebrated in a variety of ways all over the world. The most well-known tradition is the St. Joseph's Table, started in Sicily. Here are some ideas on how to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph in your own home.

Symbols
The only record of St. Joseph is found in the Gospels where it states that he was a just man, of Davidic descent, who worked as a carpenter. His symbol is a carpenter's square and a lily of the Madonna.
St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, spoke of himself both as a Roman and a Briton. The exact place of his birth is not known. At the age of fifteen, after a raid, he was carried off to Ireland. When released he traveled abroad, studied and received Holy Orders. He returned to Ireland as a bishop.
The Bishop of Jerusalem, a teacher and scholar, who triumphed in his struggle against Arian doctrines. The moneybag refers to a story that he sold the ornaments of the church to provide food for the poor.