Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

Upcoming Calendar Highlights: February 10-22

By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bio - articles - email ) | Feb 09, 2023 | In The Liturgical Year

Some liturgical reminders, links and thoughts about the middle of February:

Friday, February 10, Memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin

  • I’m always fond of this feast day. Our family loved the picture book The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica by Kathleen Norris and illustrated by Tomie de Paola.The illustrations are so wonderful, and every page is filled with Benedictine symbolism. After reading it, our then 2-year-old starting adding “St. Scholastica” to our nightly short family Litany of Saints. I can still hear his little voice pronouncing so clearly Scholastica’s name.

  • Catholic Cuisine has some clever food ideas incorporating the Thunder and Lightning story of Benedict and Scholastica.

Saturday, February 11, Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes

Tuesday, February 14 is the Memorial of St. Cyril, Monk and Methodius, Bishop:

  • With all the commercial hype of Valentine’s Day, it sometimes can be surprising to commemorate missionaries to Slavic countries rather than St. Valentine.

  • One of the great contributions of these saints was their development of an alphabet for the Slavonic language still in use, and known today as the Cyrillic.

  • If you can find a copy, NOVA had a two-episode exploration on the history of writing which played on PBS.

    • Part One: “A to Z: The First Alphabet” and Part Two: “A to Z: How Writing Changed the World”
    • There are some references to the Cyrillic alphabet.
  • I often ponder what it would be like to be a missionary in a place that has not heard of God and I have to find a way to communicate to the people, not just conversation but God and liturgy. To think of missionaries before us performing these Herculean tasks!

Tuesday February 14 is also Valentine’s Day:

  • Many Catholics call it St. Valentine’s Day. The Church removed St. Valentine from the Universal Calendar, as there were problems in establishing the historical data on St. Valentine. This doesn’t mean he isn’t still a saint and we can’t honor him. Previous versions of the Roman Martyrology actually had two saints named Valentine for the same day, but the 2004 version of the Roman Martyrology has just one Valentine as martyr.

  • Why even call it Valentine’s Day? There are medieval origins about birds mating on this day, so it became a lovers day. It is also a medieval tradition to call the day by the saint on the calendar, like Michaelmas, Martinmas, Lady Day, so it’s not surprising the name stuck.

  • As a Christian we see love not just one-sided or on the surface, but all encompassing—friendship, charity and Agape love. And we have the most fantastic summary of what true love/charity is. See 1 Corinthians 13.

  • See Father Saunders History of St. Valentine and Catholic Encyclopedia’s entry for St. Valentine for more information on this day.

  • Even though my sons are not reading the picture books, I still rotate my books in the atrium. A few of my favorite books for Valentine’s Day (be aware that some of these might be out of print or harder to find):
    • Saint Valentine by Ann Tompert. We finally bought a copy of this Saint book after borrowing from our library so many times. I think I like the story better than Sabuda’s version. My sons loved the illustrations, which are full of Romans. (It all looks like their beloved Playmobil.) My only objection is the short phrase where she mentions he blesses the bread and wine, so I add that it changes to Christ’s Body and Blood. Otherwise, I really recommend this book.

    • Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda. This is the first book we owned that talked about the St. Valentine. We still enjoy the mosaic pictures and the story line. St. Valentine is presented as a priest, who also works with herbs and salves to help healing. I think the clerical sense of “priest” is de-emphasized, but otherwise, this is a good portrayal of a saint whom we know so little!

    • Love Is . . . by Wendy Halperin is true eye-candy. Based on 1 Corinthians 13, Love is Patient, Love is Kind..., every page tells the Love Is not on one side, and Love Is on the other. This book has little text, but viewing it can take a long time. This is a perfect book for the smaller ones.

    • We also enjoyed the chapter book, Story of Valentine by Wilma Pitchford Hays. It’s more of a secular viewpoint, but well-done.

    • Appolonia’s Valentine by Katherine Milhous. This is the same author of The Egg Tree, one of my favorite Caldecott medal books, also a favorite secular Easter picture book. This is a beautifully illustrated story with much inspiration to make beautiful Valentines. The Pennsylvania Dutch illustrations and traditions, including the Amish children, are so beautiful. The instructions and images of the paper cuttings (like snowflakes) are great inspirations to cut your own.

Carnival or Mardi Gras Time:

February 22nd is Ash Wednesday. Lent Begins:

  • The Advent season has many traditions which emphasize a countdown to Christmas, such as Advent calendars, the Advent wreath, the Jesse Tree, etc. Lent doesn’t have as many of these long-standing traditions. It can help a child (and sometimes adults, too) to progress through the long season of Lent if there are some visuals and countdowns. Now is a good time to start planning (and making) countdown visuals for Lent. Some ideas that we have done (and do):
    • Lenten Cross:

      • Years ago I read about this idea of taking the logs from the remains of the Christmas tree to make a cross to hold candles for each week of Lent. We usually have an artificial tree, but one year we had a real one and tried making the cross. The cuts were too deep so we couldn’t save the candleholder from year to year. We added the Sunday Collect prayers as we lit the candles, and had 4 violet, 1 rose (for Laetare Sunday) and 1 red (for Holy Week) candles. Our sons love to have candlelight at dinner, and absolutely enjoy the Advent wreath, so this was a no brainer idea to introduce.

      • I just bought from a monastery estate sale these six brass candleholders, which arranged in this fashion will work as our Lenten cross this year.

      • There are Lenten cross candleholders that you can buy, and tons of ideas on websites, but if you have elementary aged children or teens, let them brainstorm on a way to make a Lenten cross with the supplies already at home. Maybe the shape doesn’t have to be in a cruciform. I enjoy seeing the fruits of their imagination.

    • Lenten Calendar:

    • Crown of Thorns:

    • Following the Roman Stations

      • When my sons were both elementary age, for several years we followed on a map each day for the Roman Stations. We would look up the station church and find out more about the architecture and the patron saint. My sons enjoyed getting to know Rome’s geography and history. I wrote about it in a few posts.

      • Although not included in our Roman Missal, the station churches are still a practice of Rome.

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’s liturgical year section. See full bio.

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