This week, I encourage you to click through some of these links – lots of good information, all I’m posting here are brief extracts to pique your interest.
Thursday, February 2 – The Presentation of Our Lord.
25 Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to the restoration of Israel and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord.
27 Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required,
28 he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
29 Now, Master, you are letting your servant go in peace as you promised;
30 for my eyes have seen the salvation
31 which you have made ready in the sight of the nations;
32 a light of revelation for the gentiles and glory for your people Israel.
Friday, February 3 – Saint Blaise
Patron: Against wild beasts; animals; builders; carvers; construction workers; coughs; Dalmatia; Dubrovnik; goiters; healthy throats; stonecutters; throat diseases; veterinarians; whooping cough; wool-combers; wool weavers.
Symbols: 2 crossed candles; hermit tending wild animals; iron comb; man healing a choking boy; man with two candles; wax; wool comb.
St. Blaise enjoyed widespread veneration in the Eastern and Western Churches due to many cures attributed to him. According to tradition, he was Bishop of Sebaste in Armenia and was martyred under Licinius. On this day the Church gives a “Blessing of the Throats” in honor of St. Blaise. From the eighth century he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with illnesses of the throat.
Saturday, February 4 – Saint Joseph of Leonissa
Joseph was born at Leonissa in the Kingdom of Naples. As a boy and as a student in early adulthood, Joseph drew attention for his energy and virtue. Offered a nobleman’s daughter in marriage, Joseph refused and joined the Capuchins in his hometown in 1573 instead. Avoiding the safe compromises by which people sometimes undercut the gospel, Joseph denied himself hearty meals and comfortable quarters as he prepared for ordination and a life of preaching.
Sunday, February 5 – Saint Agatha
Patron: Bell-founders; breast cancer; breast disease; Catania, Italy; against fire; earthquakes; eruptions of Mount Etna; fire; fire prevention; jewelers; martyrs; natural disasters; nurses; Palermo, Italy; rape victims; single laywomen; sterility; torture victims; volcanic eruptions; wet-nurses; Zamarramala, Spain.
Symbols: Breasts on a dish; embers; knife; loaves of bread on a dish; pincers; shears; tongs; veil; virgin martyr wearing a veil and bearing her severed breasts on a silver platter.
St. Agatha died in defense of her purity, in Catania, Sicily, where she was born. After Quintanus, the governor of Sicily, tried in vain to force her to consent to sin, she was imprisoned for a month with an evil woman. He then turned from sensuality to cruelty and had her breasts cut off; but that night Agatha was healed by St. Peter. She was then rolled over sharp stones and burning coals, and finally taken to prison where she died while praying. Her name appears in the Roman Canon.
Monday, February 6 – Saint Paul Miki and Companions
Nagasaki, Japan, is familiar to Americans as the city on which the second atomic bomb was dropped, killing hundreds of thousands. Three and a half centuries before, twenty-six martyrs of Japan were crucified on a hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki. Among them were priests, brothers and laymen, Franciscans, Jesuits and members of the Secular Franciscan Order; there were catechists, doctors, simple artisans and servants, old men and innocent children—all united in a common faith and love for Jesus and his church.
Tuesday, February 7 – Saint Colette
Colette did not seek the limelight, but in doing God’s will she certainly attracted a lot of attention. Colette was born in Corbie, France. At 21, she began to follow the Third Order Rule and became an anchoress, a woman walled into a room whose only opening was a window into a church.
After four years of prayer and penance in this cell, she left it. With the approval and encouragement of the pope, she joined the Poor Clares and reintroduced the primitive Rule of St. Clare in the 17 monasteries she established. Her sisters were known for their poverty—they rejected any fixed income—and for their perpetual fast. Colette’s reform movement spread to other countries and is still thriving today. Colette was canonized in 1807
Wednesday, February 8 – Saint Josephine Bakhita
For many years, Josephine Bakhita was a slave, but her spirit was always free and eventually that spirit prevailed. Born in Olgossa in the Darfur region of southern Sudan, Josephine was kidnapped at the age of seven, sold into slavery and given the name Bakhita, which means fortunate. She was resold several times, finally in 1883 to Callisto Legnani, Italian consul in Khartoum, Sudan.
Two years later he took Josephine to Italy and gave her to his friend Augusto Michieli. Soon Bakhita became babysitter to Mimmina Michieli, whom she accompanied to Venice’s Institute of the Catechumens, run by the Canossian Sisters. While Mimmina was being instructed, Josephine felt drawn to the Catholic Church. She was baptized and confirmed in 1890, taking the name Josephine.
When the Michielis returned from Africa and wanted to take Mimmina and Josephine back with them, the future saint refused to go. During the ensuing court case, the Canossian sisters and the patriarch of Venice intervened on Josephine’s behalf. The judge concluded that since slavery was illegal in Italy, she had actually been free since 1885.
Josephine entered the Institute of Saint Magdalene of Canossa in 1893 and made her profession three years later. In 1902, she was transferred to the city of Schio (northeast of Verona), where she assisted her religious community through cooking, sewing, embroidery and welcoming visitors at the door. She soon became well loved by the children attending the sisters’ school and the local citizens. She once said, “Be good, love the Lord, pray for those who do not know Him. What a great grace it is to know
February 5, 2017 – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Collect for the Feast of the Presentation:
Almighty ever-living God, we humbly implore your majesty that, just as your Only Begotten Son was presented on this day in the Temple in the substance of our flesh, so, by your grace, we may be presented to you with minds made pure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Holy Mother of God – Pray for us!
St. Joseph – Pray for us!
Saint Symeon – Pray for us!
Saint Anna the Prophetess – Pray for us!
Saint Blaise – Pray for us!
Saint Joseph of Leonissa – Pray for us!
Saint Agatha – Pray for us!
Saint Paul Miki and Companions – Pray for us!
Saint Colette – Pray for us!
Saint Josephine Bakhita – Pray for us!
All you angels and saints – Pray for us!