The Pope’s Monthly Intentions for February 2021
Each year, the Holy Father asks for our prayers for a specific intention each month. You are invited to answer the Holy Father’s request and to join with many people worldwide in praying for this intention each month. For February 2021, the Pope’s intention is a Universal intention for Violence against women.
We pray for women who are victims of violence, that they may be protected by society and have their sufferings considered and heeded.
Guímis ar son na mban a d’fhulaing foréigean, go dtuga an tsochaí cosaint dóibh agus go gcuire siad san áireamh an méid atá fulaingthe acu agus go dtuga siad aird air.
- To access the Pope’s prayer intentions please click here – http://popesprayerusa.net/popes-intentions/
- For further information on the monthly intentions please click here – https://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/the-popes-monthly-intention
February 1st St. Brigid’s Day / Lá Fhéile Bríde
St Brigid is the female patron saint of Ireland. Irish people have prayed to her for many hundreds of years. St. Brigid was Abbess of the monastery at Cill Dara (the Church of the Oak) in the 6th century. Tradition tells us that as Brigid explained the passion and death of Christ to the dying pagan chieftain, she took some rushes from the floor of the bothán and fashioned a cross. The Old Irish custom of placing a St. Brigid’s cross over the doors of dwelling houses and animal shelters thus began. People believed that in so doing Brigid would look after their households and stock and that full and plenty would be theirs in the year ahead. Later the custom of sprinkling the cross with holy water and invoking the following blessing began:
“May the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and St. Brigid bless this cross and all who look upon it.”
- Click here for a PowerPoint presentation on her inspiring life.
- Click here for 2019 resources from the Catholic Bishops for this Feast Day that may also be useful this year.
- Follow this link for a prayer services http://www.liturgy-ireland.ie/uploads/8/4/2/9/8429650/saint_brigid.pdf
- Also here is a link to how to make a St Brigid’s Cross: https://www.icatholic.ie/how-to-make-st-brigid-cross/
- For further information on St Brigid click on the following link: https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=453
February 2nd Presentation of the Lord / Candlemas Day: Toirbhirt an Linbh Íosa sa Teampall/ Lá Fhéile Muire na gCoinnle
Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which occurs forty days after the birth of Jesus and is also known as Candlemas day, where the blessing and procession of candles is included in today’s liturgies. In obedience to the Old Law, the Lord Jesus, the first-born, was presented in the Temple by his Blessed Mother and his foster father. This is another ‘epiphany’ celebration insofar as the Christ Child is revealed as the Messiah through the canticle and words of Simeon and the testimony of Anna the prophetess. Christ is the light of the nations, hence the blessing and procession of candles on this day. In the Middle Ages this feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or ‘Candlemas,’ was of great importance.
February 3rd Feast Day of St. Blaise: Lá Fhéile Naomh Bláisias
Saint Blaise was the bishop of Sebastea and a doctor. The first known record of the saint’s life comes from the medical writings of Aëtius Amidenus, where he is recorded as helping with patients suffering from objects stuck in their throat. Many of the miraculous aspects of St. Blaise’s life are written of 400 years after his martyrdom in the “Acts of St. Blaise.” Saint Blaise is believed to begin as a healer then, eventually, became a “physician of souls.” He then retired to a cave, where he remained in prayer. People often turned to Saint Blaise for healing miracles.
In 316, the governor of Cappadocia and of Lesser Armenia, Agricola, arrested then-bishop Blaise for being a Christian. On their way to the jail, a woman set her only son, who was chocking to death on a fish bone, at his feet.
Blaise cured the child, and though Agricola was amazed, he could not get Blaise to renounce his faith and killed him.
For a powerpoint on St Blaise please see here : https://www.dropbox.com/s/fkkb8lj15lvxqat/St%20Blaise.ppt?dl=0 (provided by the Ass. Of Catholic Teachers Ireland.
February 8th International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking / Lá Idirnáisiunta chun aird a dhíriú ar mhangaireacht daonna agus guí ina choinne
Pope Francis has stated that, human trafficking is, “without doubt,” a crime against humanity for its violation of human dignity and freedom. Trafficking, he said, “constitutes an unjustifiable violation of the freedom and dignity of the victims, constitutive dimensions of the human being wanted and created by God. This is why it is considered a crime against humanity…Trafficking seriously damages humanity as a whole, tearing apart the human family and the Body of Christ”.
Francis said trafficking in people is the worst manifestation of the commodification of others. It not only hurts victims, but it destroys the humanity of those doing the trafficking or taking advantage of victims, because it denies them access to the abundant life of Jesus.
- To Join the online Martthon of Prayer please click here https://preghieracontrotratta.org/
- For more on the news report on this issue please click here : https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/04/11/pope-francis-calls-human-trafficking-a-crime-against-humanity/
- What can we do to raise awareness and end human trafficking, watch this video about what the parish of Los Angelus are doing (4mins): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNGEnPpbT-k
February 8th St. Josephine Bakhita / Naomh Seosaimhín Bakhita
Today is also the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita (1869 to 1947). She was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in southern Sudan and Italy. Once Josephine was freed, she became a Canossian nun and dedicated her life to sharing her testament of deliverance from slavery and comforting the poor and suffering. She was declared a Saint in 2000 and is the Patron Saint for Anti-Trafficking in the Catholic faith. Prayer to end Human Trafficking.
O God, when we hear of children and adults
deceived and taken to unknown places
for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, and organ ‘harvesting’,
our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry
that their dignity and rights are ignored through threats, lies, and force.
We cry out against the evil practice of this modern slavery,
and pray with Saint Bakhita for it to end.
- For more information on St Josephine please click here https://www.franciscans.ie/human-trafficking-day-of-prayer/
- This is a link to a powerful song on the issues, quite strong (6 minutes): “Can you see me?” by Margaret Scharf OP on: https://youtu.be/3lV4zTVQLdU
February 9th Safer Internet Day / Sábháilteacht ar an Idirlíon
Safer Internet Day (SID) is an EU wide initiative to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people. It is promoted in Ireland by the PDST Technology in Education and Webwise.
Safer Internet Day Online Wellbeing Guest Panel Discussion
On Safer Internet Day Webwise will broadcast a short webinar for post-primary students reflecting on the role technology has played in our lives this year and explores ways to help students manage their online wellbeing. The event will provide an opportunity to hear about the experiences of figures from the world of entertainment, sport, cyberpsychology and the tech industry. Joining the discussion are 2FM’s; Eoghan McDermott, Cyberpsychologist; Dr Nicola Fox-Hamilton, Public Policy Lead for Kids and Families at Google; Dr Alicia Blum-Ross, All-Ireland winning Dublin Footballer Eamon Fennell. The discussion will be hosted by Webwise Youth Advisory panel member Billie Constantinou. The event will be available online on Safer Internet Day, Tuesday, February 9th via Webwise.ie and can be found on the Webwise Ireland Facebook and Twitter channels.
February 10th Memorial of St. Scholastica / Cuimhneachán N. Scholastica
St. Scholastica was the twin sister of St. Benedict, the Patriarch of Western monasticism. Like her brother, she dedicated herself to God from early youth. She was born in Umbria, Italy, about 480. Under Benedict’s direction, Scholastica founded a community of nuns near the great Benedictine monastery Monte Cassino. Inspired by Benedict’s teaching, his sister devoted her whole life to seeking and serving God. She died in 547 and tradition holds that at her death her soul ascended to heaven in the form of a dove.
“Saint Scholastica, you established the woman’s branch of the Benedictine Religious Order, and so gave Christian women their own communities to govern and rule. Help all who invoke your intercession to remain anonymous and humble even when developing great plans for God and His Church. You are great and you are unknown. Help us to desire the same”, Amen.
- For further information on St Scholastica please click here https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2021-02-10
February 11th World Day of the Sick and the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes / Lá Domhanda na nEaslán agus Taibhsiú na Maighdine Muire i Lourdes
February 11th is World Day of the Sick, an observation started by Pope John Paul II as a way for believers to offer prayers for those suffering from illnesses. The day coincides with the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes. People around the world take the time to pray for the sick and for those who work very hard to alleviate the sufferings of the sick on this day. Faith organisations mark this day especially to provide the sick with medicines, food, and spiritual guidance. Pope John Paul II initiated the day in 1992 to encourage people to pray for those who suffer from illness and for their caregivers. This year’s theme is : “You have but one teacher and you are all brothers” (Mt 23:8). A trust-based relationship to guide care for the sick.
“The celebration of the XXIX World Day of the Sick on 11 February 2021, the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, is an opportunity to devote special attention to the sick and to those who provide them with assistance and care both in healthcare institutions and within families and communities. We think in particular of those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, the effects of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. To all, and especially to the poor and the marginalized, I express my spiritual closeness and assure them of the Church’s loving concern…To Mary, Mother of Mercy and Health of the Infirm, I entrust the sick, healthcare workers and all those who generously assist our suffering brothers and sisters. From the Grotto of Lourdes and her many other shrines throughout the world, may she sustain our faith and hope, and help us care for one another with fraternal love” (Pope Francis).
- To read Pope Francis’s full message for World Day of the Sick click here http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/sick/documents/papa-francesco_20201220_giornata-malato.html
- For further information click here https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/world-day-of-the-sick-2021/
Our Lady of Lourdes / Muire Lourdes
Today marks the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1858 to fourteen-year-old Marie Bernade (St. Bernadette) Soubirous. Between February 11 and July 16, 1858, the Blessed Virgin appeared eighteen times, and showed herself to St. Bernadette in the hollow of the rock at Lourdes. On March 25, she said to the little shepherdess who was only fourteen years of age: “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Since then, Lourdes has become a place of pilgrimage and many cures and conversions have taken place. The message of Lourdes is a call to personal conversion, prayer, and charity.
- For further information click here: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2021-02-11
- For further information on Our Lady of Lourdes click here: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/saint/our-lady-of-lourdes-144
- Check YouTube for the film ‘The Song of Bernadette’, it is a black and white movie freely available about 2 hours long but a beautiful depiction of the story of Lourdes.
February 11th International Day of Women and Girls in Science / Lá Idirnáisiúnta Tiomnaithe do Mhná agus do Chailíní san Eolaíocht
“To rise to the challenges of the 21st century, we need to harness our full potential. That requires dismantling gender stereotypes. On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s pledge to end the gender imbalance in science” (UN Secretary-General António Guterres).
In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, is implemented by UNESCO and UN-Women, in collaboration institutions and civil society partners that aim to promote women and girls in science. This Day is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. Gender equality is a global priority for UNESCO, and the support of young girls, their education, and their full ability to make their ideas heard are levers for development and peace. Join the conversation with #WomenInScience!
- For further information please click here : https://www.un.org/en/observances/women-and-girls-in-science-day/
February 14th St. Valentine / Naomh Vailintín, Pátrún an Ghrá
Saint Valentine, officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, is a third-century Roman saint widely celebrated on February 14 and commonly associated with “courtly love.” Although not much of St. Valentine’s life is reliably known, and whether or not the stories involve two different saints by the same name is also not officially decided, it is highly agreed that St. Valentine was martyred and then buried on the Via Flaminia to the north of Rome. In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church removed St. Valentine from the General Roman Calendar, because so little is known about him. However, the church still recognizes him as a saint, listing him in the February 14 spot of Roman Martyrology. Relics of St Valentine are venerated in the Carmelite Church in Whitefriar St in Dublin. The history given is that in 1835 Fr John Spratt, the then Prior of the Carmelite Church in Whitefriar St, Dublin, on a visit to Rome received the relics of St Valentine martyr from Pope Gregory XVI (1835) and installed them in his church, where they became an object of great devotion.
- The website of the Irish Carmelites tells two stories about Valentine which give some indication why this devotion developed : http://www.carmelites.ie/stvalentine.html
- You can read more about St Valentine here : https://www.catholicireland.net/saintoftheday/st-valentine-d-269-bishop-and-martyr/
- To access a powerpoint presentation n St Valentine please click here : https://www.dropbox.com/s/zlthbr34h37sz51/St.%20Valentine.ppt?dl=0 (compliments of A.C.T.)
February 14th Day of Prayer for Temperance
The life story of Venerable Matt Talbot from Co. Dublin is truly inspiring. The PowerPoint Presentation below will help you learn more about his life, his struggles with alcoholism and his close relationship with God. This presentation is suited to senior classes (thanks to A.C.T. for these slides).
- For a wonderful PowerPoint on Matt Talbot click here – https://www.dropbox.com/s/dxrpgsgnj4nv3on/Matt%20Talbot%27s%20Story.pptx?dl=0
- For more information on Matt Talbot please click here – https://www.catholicireland.net/saintoftheday/matt-talbot-the-workers-saint/
February 17th Ash Wednesday / Céadaoin an Luaithrigh
Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer. Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is chiefly observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too. Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Alternatively, the priest may speak the words, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Ashes also symbolize grief, in this case, grief that we have sinned and caused division from God. Writings from the Second-century Church refer to the wearing of ashes as a sign of penance. The ashes are made from blessed palm branches, taken from the previous year’s Palm Sunday Mass.
- A lovely 3 minute youtube video explaining Lent: https://youtu.be/Xo1mjuy1NA0
- Also a video from The Religion Teacher explaining Lent (2.22 minutes) : https://youtu.be/13c2qmRY5AQ
- Follow #LivingLent 2021 for daily reflections and guidance throughout the Lenten Journey which goes live on Ash Wednesday 17th of Feb.. www.catholicbishops.ie
- Make the most of your Lenten journey with these daily devotions. Each devotion includes a scripture reading, prayer, meditations, and a small act that will reinforce your faith. Click here : https://www.catholic.org/lent/livinglent.php
- For further Lentan prayers, songs, websites, etc please see resources on our Diocesan website https://ferns.ie/youth-matters/lentan-resources/
February 20th Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto / N. Jacinta agus Francisco Marto
On February 20, the liturgical Feast of Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the two little shepherd children of Fatima, is celebrated. The devotion to these new saints is increasing all around the world and there are many parishes and prayer groups commemorating this Feast date with some liturgical celebration.
Francisco Marto was born in Aljustrel, Fatima, on June 11, 1908, and his sister Jacinta Marto was born in the same locality, on March 11, 1910. In their humble family, the children learned to know and to praise God and the Virgin Mary. In 1916, they saw three times an Angel and in 1917, they saw six times the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking them to pray and to make penance for the conversion of sinners and to obtain peace in the world. Both, immediately, wanted to answer with all their strength, to these exhortations. More and more inflamed in the love to God and to the souls, they had only one aspiration: to pray and to suffer according to the requests from the Angel and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Francisco died on April 4, 1919 and Jacinta on February 20, 1920. Pope Saint John Paul II travelled to Fatima on May 13, 2000, in order to beatify the two children. Pope Francis came to Fatima on May 13, 2017, during the Centenary of the Apparitions, and canonized the two first non-martyr children in the history of the Church.
- For further information please click here : http://www.worldfatima.com/en/759-feast-of-saints-francisco-and-jacinta-marto
February 20th World Day of Social Justice / Lá Domhanda Tiomnaithe do Cheartas Sóisialta
World Day of Social Justice is an international day recognising the need to promote social justice, which includes efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion, gender equality, unemployment, human rights and social protections. Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations.
The United Nations assert that we uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality, or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or disability. For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of our global mission to promote development and human dignity.
- For further information click here: https://www.un.org/en/observances/social-justice-day https://www.greengrowthknowledge.org/event/world-day-social-justice