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 Religious Sisters and consecrated women.
For religious sisters and consecrated women
We pray for religious sisters and consecrated women; thanking them for their mission and their courage; may they continue to find new responses to the challenges of our times.
- 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
- For a short prayer reflection on this month’s theme just click here: http://popesprayerusa.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/2PWPN-February-Group-Reflection-2022.pdf
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 2021 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
- A formal Liturgy : http://www.liturgies.net/saints/brigid/mass.htm
- Some lovely resources here including a prayer service that might be helpful. https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2021/01/31/resources-for-the-feast-of-saint-brigid-1-february-2021/
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.
- Ask your parish priest to bless the candles that you will be using on your home altar this year.
- Read Luke 2:22-35, the account of the presentation including the Canticle of Simeon.
- Meditate on the constant fiatof Our Lady of Sorrows, who embraced the will of God even as Simeon predicted that a sword would pierce her heart.
- Read this articleto see what the connection between Candlemas and Groundhog Day.
- For more information on this feast day click here
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.
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 candles; 2 crossed candles; candle; hermit tending wild animals; iron comb; man healing a choking boy; man with two candles; wax; wool comb.
It is customary in many places to bless the throats of the faithful with two candles tied together with a red ribbon to form a cross. The rite of the blessing of throats may take place before or after Mass.
The priest or deacon places the candles around the throat of whoever seeks the blessing, using the formula: “Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you free from every disease of the throat, and from every other disease. In the name of the Father and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.”
- Readmore about St. Blaise and how he saved Dubrovnik in Croatia in the 12th century.
- For a powerpoint on St Blaise please see here : here (provided by the Ass. Of Catholic Teachers Ireland.
- For further information on St Blaise click here
February 8th International Day of Prayer & Awareness against Human Trafficking/Lá Idirnáisiunta chun aird a dhíriú ar mhangaireacht daonna agus guí ina choinne
“The Power of care – women, economy and human trafficking” is the theme for the 8th International Day of Prayer and Reflection against human trafficking, on the next 8th of February, 2002.
The theme’s choice continues the previous year’s, where we began to reflect on the connection between the economy and human trafficking. The 2022 edition proposes to focus on women. They are, in fact, the most affected by the violence of trafficking. At the same time, they have a fundamental and important role in the process of transforming the economy of exploitation into one of care. To read the full presentation on this years theme click https://preghieracontrotratta.org/files/documenti/EN_The_Power_of_Care.pdf
- Follow this link to an article by Muiread Murphy who is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Law at Maynooth University. She is an Irish Research Council awardee. Her article was written in Nov 2021 and has links to various video reports on the situation of Irelands record in addressing this issue.
- Eight hours of On-line Marathon of Prayer and Awareness “The Power of Care”. Follow the live streaming on youtube
- 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
- For a clear youtube video on her life check out https://youtu.be/nwbOZGfJYQ4
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.
The “Our Digital Lives” guest panel discussion for Safer Internet Day 2022 will feature Miriam Mullins – TikTok Star and Content Creator; Shane Carthy – Dublin GAA Player and Author; Dr. Elaine Byrnes – Researcher and Coordinator of Consent Programmes; and members of the Webwise Youth Panel.
The online event marks the culmination of the 2022 SID Ambassador Training Programme. 150 students from schools from across Ireland participated in the peer-led training programme to gain the skills and knowledge to run their own online safety campaigns and initiatives in their own schools and local communities.
The guest panel discussion will hear from the contributors about the benefits and the challenges of Our Digital Lives, and will address questions posed by the SID Ambassadors. A recording of the event will be available for students and schools to view on Safer Internet Day, Tuesday, February 8th, on Webwise.ie and on the Webwise social media channels.
- The website has loads of resources for school from videos, PowerPoint presentations, competitions, ideas of what to do in school https://www.webwise.ie/saferinternetday/
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 11 is World Day of the Sick, an observation started by Pope John Paul II as a way for the faithful 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.
- To view Pope Francis’ message for World Day of the Sick click here.
- For further information click here https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/world-day-of-the-sick-2021/
- During lockdown some schools wrote to residents in Nursing Home or prepared an online concert for them. Perhaps your class could think about how they might support those who are sick once again?
- Organising a prayer service for all those who are sick in our lives is a very important support to both those who are suffering and those who feel helpless to support them.
February 11th 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.
- Watch The Song of Bernadette, a masterpiece filmed in 1943. Click
- Bring flowers (roses would be appropriate) to your statue of Our Lady at school, especially if you have a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes.
- Have Holy Water bottles available for students in the Prayer Room or at a communal place.
- Decide to do something special for someone who is sick, write a letter, cook a meal, give them flowers.
- For further information on this Feast Day click here.
PROGRAMME FOR THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF LOURDES
Live from Lourdes Grotto
11th FEBRUARY 2022
- Thursday 10th February:
8:15 p.m.: Musical Ode with the petits chanteurs à la Croix de Bois
9:00 p.m.: Marian torchlight procession.
- Friday 11th February
10:00 a.m.: International Mass followed by Angelus at the Grotto with evocation of the first apparition of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette.
3:00 pm Rosary in English at the Grotto
3:30 p.m. Rosary in French at the Grotto with the petits chanteurs à la Croix de Bois
5:00 p.m.: Eucharistic procession and blessing of the sick.
8:30 p.m.: Torchlit Rosary at the Grotto with the petits chanteurs à la Croix de Bois
- To access the above click https://www.lourdes-france.org/en/11-fevrier-premiere-apparition-de-marie-a-bernadette-soubirous-fete-de-notre-dame-de-lourdes-xxxe-journee-mondiale-du-malade/
February 11th International Day of Women and Girls in Science / Lá Idirnáisiúnta Tiomnaithe do Mhná agus do Chailíní san Eolaíocht
On 11 February, the United Nations, partners worldwide, women and girls will mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The Day focuses on the reality that science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 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 UN General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
- For further information please click here : https://www.un.org/en/observances/women-and-girls-in-science-day/
- Great website on Catholic female scientists throughout the ages: https://sciencemeetsfaith.wordpress.com/2021/10/23/catholic-female-scientists-through-the-centuries/
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.)
- See attached a class plan on the topic of Love compliments of Diocese of Waterford & Lismore.
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 20th: Saints Jacinta and 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
- You can watch the film Fatima on Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.
- An article on this supernatural event can be read can be read
- I sourced a Youtube video which is 3.50 minute long and gives a good overview of what happened in Fatima and is quirky and cleverly done. Click
- Also a very good video 3.29 mins long using actual photographs from the day and eye witness reports on the miracle of the sun can be viewed
February 20th: World Day of Social Justice / Lá Domhanda Tiomnaithe do Cheartas Sóisialta
World Day of Social Justice 2022 is on Sunday, February 20, 2022. World Day of Social Justice is celebrated on the 20th of February every year since 2009 on the promotion of the United Nations Organization (UNO).
Theme of World Day of Social Justice 2022
The United Nations Organization website states the theme of World Day of Social Justice 2021 as,
“A Call for Social Justice in the Digital Economy”
Covid 19 Pandemic has created environments of remote working by digital platforms. These factors influenced labour opportunities and produced the digital divide. The theme of the current year 2022 will address these features.
- For further information click here: https://internationaleventday.com/event/world-day-of-social-justic/ & https://www.un.org/en/observances/social-justice-day
February 22nd : Feast day of the Chair of St Peter
From the beginning, the specialness, or primacy, of Peter has been recognized. On the feast of the Chair of Peter, we celebrate our unity as a Church. We celebrate the love, presence, and protection of Christ for us, the Church. The title Chair of Peter refers to the chair from which a bishop presided, a symbol of his authority. When the title refers to Saint Peter, it recalls the supreme teaching power of Peter and his successors. It is from the chair, from the pastoral power given him, that the pope shepherds Christ’s flock.
- Encourage the students to bring in articles on the pope and read biographies of recent popes.
- Have the students discuss the leadership qualities of Peter and the qualities he had to overcome to give better witness to Christ. Invite the students to act out a scene from Peter’s life.
- Read what the Catholic Encyclopedia says about the Chair of St. Peter.
- View some images of the Chair of St. Peter
- Direct the students to read parts of First Peter and Second Peter in the New Testament.