Ordinary Time: March 5th
Tuesday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: St. John Joseph of the Cross, priest (Hist) ; Other Titles: Mardi Gras; Plentone; Carnival; Fastelaven; Collup Monday; Carnevale; Shrove Tuesday; Fat Tuesday
Historically today is the feast of St. John Joesph of the Cross who was born on the Island of Ischia in Southern Italy. At the age of sixteen years he entered the Order of St. Francis at Naples, amongst the Friars of the Alcantarine Reform, being the first Italian to join this reform which had been instituted in Spain by St. Peter of Alcantara. In 1674 he was sent to found a friary at Afila, in Piedmont; and he assisted with his own hands in the building. Much against his will , he was raised to the priesthood. In 1702 he was appointed Vicar Provincial of the Alcantarine Reform in Italy. He was beatified in 1789, and canonized in 1839.
Preparing for Lent
No Lent is worthy of the name without a personal effort of self-reformation, of leading a life more in accordance with God's commands and an attempt by some kind of voluntary self-denial to make reparation for past negligence. But the Church, together with the personal effort which she requires of all of us, her children, sets up in the sight of God the cross of Christ, the Lamb of God who took upon Himself the sins of man and who is the price of our redemption. As Holy Week approaches the thought of the passion becomes increasingly predominant until it occupies our whole attention, but from the very beginning of Lent it is present, for it is in union with the sufferings of Christ that the whole army of Christians begins on the holy "forty days", setting out for Easter with the glad certitude of sharing in His resurrection.
Here are a few suggestions to help you celebrate the final day before Lent.
- Today is Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras! Try some of the traditional recipes linked here. When eggs were among the foods that were forbidden by the Church during Lent, people would use them up on Fat Tuesday by mixing up large quantities of pancakes or doughnuts (also known as fastnachts).
- Read Maria von Trapp's explanation of the traditions associated with Carnival, or Fat Tuesday here.
- Sing this American favorite, Turkey in the Straw, with your children as part of your Mardi Gras celebrations.
- Discuss Jesus' Gospel teaching for today, He who would be first must be last, with your children and ask them how they can put others in the family before themselves. Keep it simple and practical — setting the table, washing the dishes, folding laundry, watching the littler ones, doing homework right away.
- What does it mean to become a child spiritually, that we may enter Heaven and be received by Christ Himself? We can learn much from St. Therese of the Child Jesus about spiritual childhood. Begin reading her Story of a Soul.
- Read Fr. William Saunder's article, Shrove Tuesday and Shrovetide, from the Catholic Culture Library.
St. John Joseph of the Cross
Saint John Joseph of the Cross was born on the feast of the Assumption in 1654, on the island of Ischia in the kingdom of Naples. From his childhood he was a model of virtue, and in his sixteenth year he entered the Franciscan Order of the Strict Observance, or Reform of Saint Peter of Alcantara, at Naples. Such was the edification he gave in his Order, that within three years after his profession he was sent to found a monastery in Piedmont. He assisted in its construction himself and established there the most perfect silence and monastic fervor.