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Lent: February 29th

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

Other Commemorations: St. Hilary, Pope (RM); St. Oswald, Bishop (RM)


February 29, 2024 (Readings on USCCB website)



Thursday of the Second Week of Lent: O God, who delight in innocence and restore it, direct the hearts of your servants to yourself, that, caught up in the fire of your Spirit, we may be found steadfast in faith and effective in works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.


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Today's Station Church is St. Mary in Trastevere, rebuilt in the twelfth century. After St. Mary Major, it is considered the most beautiful church dedicated to Our Lady in Rome.

The thought expressed in today’s first reading in Jeremias is one of the basic themes of the great prophets; it is to be found also in the Psalms (particularly Ps 1) and the book of Proverbs. Trust in men and trust in God—the former belies our expectations and only the latter assures our happiness and enables us to “bring forth good fruit.”

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the beggar, is addressed to the Pharisees. The rich man stands for the haughty man who, proudly satisfied with the gifts that God has bestowed on him, is unaware that living as he does he loses God’s favour. The teaching is the same as in the Epistle; blessed are the poor in spirit: those who put their trust in God. —St. Andrew Daily Missal

During Leap Years the Roman Martyrology commemorates on February 29 St. Hilary (d. 468), pope from 461 to 468 and guardian of Church unity and St. Oswald, archbishop of York (925-992) otherwise they are commemorated on February 28.

Today's Station Church >>>

Meditation—Prayer of Confidence in the Merits and Merciful Power of Jesus
The proud who claim to draw their power form themselves, commit the sin of Lucifer, who said: “I will ascend into Heaven…. I will be like the Most High”; like Lucifer they will be overthrown and cast down into the abyss.

But what do we say? That without Christ, we can do nothing, as He has Himself declared. We declare that it is through Jesus, with Jesus, that we can arrive at holiness and enter into Heaven; we say to Christ: “Master, I am poor, miserable, naked, weak, of this I am daily more and more convinced. But I know, too, that Thou art ineffably powerful, great and good; I know that the Father Thou lovest so much hath placed in Thee all the treasures of holiness that men may desire; I know that Thou wilt never reject those who come to Thee. Therefore, whilst adoring Thee in the deepest recesses of my soul, I have full confidence in Thy merits and satisfactions; I know that, altogether miserable as I am, Thou canst, by Thy grace, shower Thy riches upon me, uplift me even to the Divine, that I may be made like unto Thee and may share in Thy Divine Beatitude!”
—Dom Columba Marmion, Christ the Ideal of the Monk

St. Hilary
To replace a man like Leo was not easy, but the next pope was a man after Leo's heart, the archdeacon Hilary. Hilary was a Sardinian who had joined the Roman clergy and had been sent by St. Leo as one of the papal legates to the council at Ephesus in 449. This council, intended to settle the Monophysite affair, got out of hand. Packed with Monophysites and presided over by Dioscorus, the patriarch of Alexandria, the assembly refused to listen to the protests of the papal legates. Dioscorus steam-rollered through the council a condemnation of the orthodox and saintly Flavian, patriarch of Constantinople, and an approval of the Monophysite leader Eutyches. In vain Hilary protested. He had to fly in fear for his life and hide in a chapel of St. John the Evangelist. It was only with difficulty that he got back to Rome. No wonder St. Leo called this Ephesus council a gathering of robbers!

As pope, Hilary worked hard to foster order in the Gallic hierarchy. When a certain Hermes illegally made himself archbishop of Narbonne, two Gallic delegates came to Rome to appeal to Pope Hilary. He held a council at Rome in 462 to settle the matter. He also upheld the rights of the see of Arles to be the primatial see of Gaul. From Spain also came appeals of a similar nature. To settle these Hilary held a council at Rome in 465. This is the first Council at Rome whose acts have come down to us. According to the "Liber Pontificalis" he sent a letter to the East confirming the ecumenical councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, and the famous dogmatic letter of his predecessor St. Leo to Flavian. He also publicly in St. Peter's rebuked the shadow-emperor Anthemius for allowing a favorite of his to foster heresy in Rome.

St. Hilary deserves great credit for his work in building and decorating churches in Rome. Of especial interest is the oratory he built near the Lateran, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist. The Pope attributed his escape from the wild Monophysites at Ephesus to the intercession of the Beloved Disciple, and to show his gratitude he built this beautiful oratory. Over its doors may still be seen the inscription, "To his deliverer, Blessed John the Evangelist, Bishop Hilary, the Servant of Christ." Hilary built two more churches and spent freely in decorating still others. The gold and silver and marble used so lavishly by this Pope in adorning the Roman churches indicate that the wealthy families of Rome must have saved something from the grasping hands of Goths and Vandals.

St. Hilary died on February 29. His feast is celebrated on February 28.
—Excerpted from Defending the Faith

Highlights and Things to Do:

St. Oswald of Worcester
St. Oswald was born of a Danish family that settled in England. He was educated by his uncle St. Odo, bishop of Canterbury, was appointed dean of Winchester, and soon after sent by Odo to the abbey of Fleury in France to learn monastic discipline.

In 962, Oswald succeeded St. Dunstan as bishop of Worcester, and he was closely associated with Dunstan and St. Ethelwold in the restoration of monasticism in England. His first foundation was at Westbury-on-Trym near Bristol, but his greatest establishment was at Ramsey in Huntingdonshire (972), from which were founded Pershore, Evesham, and other houses.

St. Oswald shone as a bright star as bishop. He was energetic in improving the standard of the parochial clergy, fostering education, and enforcing clerical celibacy, and in 972 he was promoted to archbishop of York, where as a young man he had worked under his uncle Archbishop Oskitell (Oskytel). But he was obliged to retain the see of Worcester as well, presiding over both dioceses; it is with Worcester that he was always concerned.

St. Oswald was almost always occupied in visiting his diocese, preaching without intermission, and reforming abuses. He encouraged learning and learned men. When not engaged in pastoral duties, Oswald could be found joining the monks of St. Mary's monastery in their exercises.

To nourish his own humility and charity, Oswald always invited 12 of the poor to dine with him each day during Lent (some say every day). These he served himself, and also washed and kissed their feet. He died at St. Mary's just after fulfilling this Lenten observance and after receiving the viaticum, while repeatedly praying the Glory Be.

His body was translated by his successor Adulph ten years later and enshrined. Still later his relics were transferred to York.
—Adapted from Celtic Saints

Symbols and Representation: church; demon; dove; ship; stone

Highlights and Things to Do:

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent
Station with Santa Maria in Trastevere (St. Mary in Trastevere ):

The Station for today is in the celebrated basilica, St. Maria in Trastevere. The basilica was consecrated in the third century, under the pontificate of St. Callixtus, and was the first church built in Rome in honor of our Blessed Lady, particularly for her Assumption. The original church was demolished and the current church was constructed between 1139 to 1181, with additions such as mosaics and chapels added through the centuries.

For more on Santa Maria in Trastevere, see:

For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.