February 2023 - Overview for the Month
This year the first 3/12 weeks of February falls during the liturgical season known as Tempus per Annum or Ordinary Time (formerly Time After Epiphany), which is represented by the liturgical color green. Green is a symbol of hope, as it 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 liturgical color green is worn during prayer of Offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. The remaining days of February are the beginning of Lent. The liturgical color changes to violet or purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart.
The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of February 2023
For Parishes: We pray that parishes, placing communion at the centre, may increasingly become communities of faith, fraternity and welcome towards those most in need. (See also http://www.popesprayerusa.net/.)
Feasts for February2. Presentation of the Lord, Feast
3. Blaise; Ansgar, Opt. Mem.
5. FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, Sunday
6. Paul Miki and Companions, Memorial
8. Jerome Emiliani; Josephine Bakhita, Opt. Mem.
10. Scholastica, Memorial
11. Our Lady of Lourdes, Opt. Mem.
12. SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, Sunday
14. Cyril and Methodius, Memorial
17. Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites, Opt. Mem.
19. SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, Sunday
21. Peter Damian, Opt. Mem.
22. Ash Wednesday, Commem.
26. FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT, Sunday
Focus of the Liturgy
The Gospel readings for the Sundays in February are taken from St. Matthew following the Lectionary Cycle A, and the Weekday readings follow Year I.
Year A, Matthew 5:13-15: You are the light of the world.
Year A, Matthew 5:17-37: So it was said to your ancestors; but I say this to you.
Year A, Matthew 5:38-48: Love your enemies.
Year A, Matthew 4:1-11: Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights and was tempted.
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. February 21, Shrove Tuesday, will find us preparing for Ash Wednesday. The middle of the month will find us on Ash Wednesday accepting the ashes that remind us of our mortality and our need for penance.
The saints that we will focus on this month and try to imitate are St. Blaise (February 3), 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), St. Peter Damian (February 21), and St. Polycarp (February 23).
The feast of St. Agatha (February 5) is superseded by the Sunday Liturgy. The feast of the Chair of St. Peter (February 22) is superseded by the liturgy for Ash Wednesday.
From Feast to Fast
Though the shortest month of the year, February is rich in Liturgical activity. It 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 and 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 (February 22) and plunge ourselves into anticipating 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.
This item 12539 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org