Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

Liturgical Highlights: Carnival-Pre-Lent Edition

By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bio - articles - email ) | Feb 05, 2024 | In The Liturgical Year

I try to make it a habit when I’m calendar planning to first look at the Liturgical Calendar. What feasts are coming up in the next few weeks? Are there any upcoming commemorations of favorite saints I would like to honor? Are the seasons changing? Shall I incorporate any of my menu planning around some of the feast days? Can I squeeze in attendance at a daily Mass for an upcoming feast?

This is how my little highlights posts came to be…I’m just looking ahead, giving a little mental prod for upcoming liturgical calendar highlights.

There is an upcoming shift in the Liturgical seasons. Lent is only one and a half weeks away. Traditionally this is Carnival or Mardi Gras time. As Catholics we often look at it as the last days of celebration before our penitential season of Lent.


February 6: Memorial of St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs (d. 1597)

St. Paul Miki and his companions were put to death in Nagasaki on this day in 1597 by a form of crucifixion even more violent than the Roman crucifixion of Jesus. CatholicSaints.info describes the Japanese style of crucifixion: “to put iron clamps around the wrists, ankles and throat, a straddle piece was placed between the legs for weight support, and the person was pierced with a lance up through the left and right ribs toward the opposite shoulder.”

These are the only Japanese saints on the General Roman Calendar: Twenty-six Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries and Japanese converts, they were canonized in 1862, and added in the reform of the Calendar in 1969.

See my earlier post Conquerors and Martyrs on St. Agatha and St Paul Miki and Companions.


February 8: Optional Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani and Optional Memorial of St. Josephine Bakhita

St. Jerome Emiliani (1481-1537)

Bishop Barron in last Sunday’s sermon recalled Pope Benedict’s summary of the three tasks of the Church: 1) to pray, 2) to serve, and 3) to evangelize. St. Jerome’s life is one that filled that need. Austin Flannery, O.P. described him “as an early St. John Bosco because of his compassionate interest in orphans and abandoned children.” His work included founding six orphanages, a shelter for penitent prostitutes, and a hospital.

Saint Josephine Bakhita (1868-1947)

See Slavery Yesterday and Today a book review by Jeff Mirus. I’m reading this book now, and highly recommend it.

I first found out about St. Josephine Bakhita at her canonization in Rome. My husband and I were there for the canonization of St. Josemaria Escriva, but loved discovering the first Sudanese saint. She was a maltreated slave and a convert.

I find a lot of emphasis on practicing empathy on social media, but I see in St. Josephine’s life how she practiced it continually. Here was a woman who suffered at the hands of her owners, with her body enduring extensive damage. Instead of using those hurts as a defense or to try to gain sympathy, she turned them around and saw other people’s pain and served them to alleviate it. She is an example to me of practicing true empathy.

See Catholic Cuisine for some food ideas.


February 10: Memorial of St. Scholastica (480-547)

St. Benedict and St. Scholastica were fraternal twins, which makes me understand some of the stories of their closeness. Other twin saints we know about:

  1. Saints Crispin and Crispinian
  2. Saints Cosmas and Damian
  3. Saints Mark and Saint Marcellian
  4. Saints Medard and Gildard
  5. Saints Gervasius and Protasius

Benedict and Scholastica lived fifteen hundred years ago, and they still have a daily impact on the Catholic Church.

In 2016 Thomas Mirus visited Norcia, just before the devastating earthquakes. Enjoy his post with photos detailing his visit.


Mardi Gras

While we are in Carnival or Mardi Gras “season”, the final day before Lent is considered the day we say “Farewell to Meat.” No matter if you call it Mardi Gras or Plentone or Carnival or Fastelaven or Carnevale or Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday, it’s the day before Ash Wednesday, and at midnight the celebrating ends, and the fast and abstinence begins.

Historically this day tended to “get out of hand,” and so the Church has provided some reminders. Fat Tuesday is a traditional honoring of the Holy Face of Jesus. On April 17th, 1958, His Holiness Pope Pius XII confirmed the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus as a movable feast on Shrove Tuesday (Tuesday before Ash Wednesday).

Reading about Carnival Customs and Traditions:

What is your food of choice to celebrate Fat Tuesday? Doughnuts/Fastnachts, Paczki, Pancakes, King Cake, Sausage and Peppers, or what else? See the list of recipes, activities, prayers and documents for Fat Tuesday on Catholic Culture.

Jennifer Gregory Miller is a wife, mother, homemaker, CGS catechist, and Montessori teacher. Specializing in living the liturgical year, or liturgical living, she is the primary developer of CatholicCulture.org’s liturgical year section. See full bio.

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