The Pope’s Monthly Intentions for February 2024

Pope Francis’ monthly prayer intention this February is for the terminally ill and their families.

The Pope invited the Church to pray for this intention in this month’s The Pope Video, which is entrusted to the entire Catholic Church through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

This month’s Video comes during the month in which the Church observes the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11 February, on which the World Day of the Sick takes place.

Pope Francis explains that “when some people talk about terminal illnesses, there are two words they often confuse: incurable and un-‘carable.’ But they are not the same.”

Caring even if cannot cure

He cites his predecessor Pope St. John Paul II, in saying, “Cure if it is possible; always take care.”  The images from The Pope Video for February exemplify situations showing love and tenderness for the terminally ill, and depending on how they are interpreted, depict a series of failures or successes, the failures being “if the only acceptable outcome is a cure,” and successes instead being “if the objective is the care of the patient.”

Pope Francis explains clearly that even when little chance for a cure exists, “every sick person has the right to medical, psychological, spiritual and human assistance.”

“Healing,” he acknowledges, “is not always possible, but we can always care for the sick person, caress them.”

Guarantee of closeness and support

Reflecting on the importance of palliative care, Pope Francis reaffirms that such care “guarantees the patient not only medical attention,” but also “human assistance and closeness.”  Meanwhile, when speaking about the role of the family, he underscores that those suffering “should not be left alone in these difficult moments.”

The role of the family “is decisive,” the Pope said, stressing relatives “need access to adequate means so as to provide appropriate physical, spiritual and social support.”

Pope Francis concludes by asking for prayers and a commitment from everyone so that “the terminally ill and their families always receive the necessary medical and human care and assistance.” 

  • To access the Pope’s prayer intentions please click HERE
  • For further information on the monthly intentions please click HERE


Liturgical Calendar for February 2024

(click on underlined words for more information)

Ordinary Time





 Saint Brigid of Kildare, abbess





 The Presentation of the Lord




 Saturday in the 4ᵗʰ Week in Ordinary Time


 Saint Ansgar, bishop


 Saint Blase, bishop and martyr


 The Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday




 5ᵗʰ Sunday in Ordinary Time





 Saint Agatha, virgin and martyr




 Saint Paul Miki and companions, martyrs




 Wednesday in the 5ᵗʰ Week in Ordinary Time


 Saint Mel of Ardagh, bishop




 Thursday in the 5ᵗʰ Week in Ordinary Time


 Saint Jerome Emiliani, priest


 Saint Josephine Bakhita, virgin




 Friday in the 5ᵗʰ Week in Ordinary Time




 Saint Scholastica, virgin




 6ᵗʰ Sunday in Ordinary Time





 Monday in the 6ᵗʰ Week in Ordinary Time




 Tuesday in the 6ᵗʰ Week in Ordinary Time






 Ash Wednesday





 Thursday after Ash Wednesday




 Friday after Ash Wednesday




 Saturday after Ash Wednesday


 Saint Fintan of Clonenagh, abbot


 The Seven Founders of the Order of Servites, religious




 1ˢᵗ Sunday of Lent





 Monday in the 1ˢᵗ Week of Lent




 Tuesday in the 1ˢᵗ Week of Lent




 Wednesday in the 1ˢᵗ Week of Lent


 Saint Peter Damian, bishop and doctor of the Church




 The Chair of Saint Peter, apostle




 Friday in the 1ˢᵗ Week of Lent


 Saint Polycarp, bishop and martyr




 Saturday in the 1ˢᵗ Week of Lent




 2ⁿ Sunday of Lent





 Monday in the 2ⁿᵈ Week of Lent




 Tuesday in the 2ⁿᵈ Week of Lent


 Saint Gregory of Narek, abbot and doctor of the Church




 Wednesday in the 2ⁿᵈ Week of Lent




 Thursday in the 2ⁿᵈ Week of Lent


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 geared towards 1st

  • Click HERE for a PP for all other years includes a prayer service.
  • Click here for 2021 resources from the Catholic Bishops for this Feast Day that may also be useful this year.
  • Also here is a link to how to make a St Brigid’s Cross in a 4min video:  HERE
  • For further information on St Brigid click HERE
  • A formal Liturgy for this feast day can be sourced HERE
  • A Prayer Service can be sourced HERE
  • Some lovely resources from the Bishop’s Conference including a prayer service can be sourced HERE
  • Scoilnet provide resources that might be more geared to 1st years but there is an array of activities and information HERE

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 Candlemass 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/school prayer room 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
  • For a PowerPoint on what Candlemas is just 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 (provided by the Ass. Of Catholic Teachers Ireland and suited to young students
  • Another PowerPoint can be sourced HERE including prayers.
  • For a PDF of the Acts of St Blaise and to read the Chaplet click HERE
  • For further information on St Blaise click here


February 6th : Saint Paul Miki and companions, martyrs.


Image :Martyrdom of Paul Miki S.J., Jacob Kisai S.J., John Goto S.J. and P. Petrus Battista in Japan in 1596 | Engraving after A. van Diepenbeec

Saint Paul Miki and Companions’ Story

Nagasaki, Japan, is familiar to Americans as the city on which the second atomic bomb was dropped, immediately killing over 37,000 people. Three and a half centuries before, 26 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.

Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best known among the martyrs of Japan. While hanging upon a cross, Paul Miki preached to the people gathered for the execution:

“The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ’s example I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.”

When missionaries returned to Japan in the 1860s, at first they found no trace of Christianity. But after establishing themselves they found that thousands of Christians lived around Nagasaki and that they had secretly preserved the faith. Beatified in 1627, the martyrs of Japan were finally canonized in 1862.


Today, a new era has come for the Church in Japan. Although the number of Catholics is not large, the Church is respected and has total religious freedom. The spread of Christianity in the Far East is slow and difficult. Faith such as that of the 26 martyrs is needed today as much as in 1597. 

February 6th  Safer Internet Day / Sábháilteacht ar an Idirlíon

 Put online safety at the top of the agenda for the school year ahead with the Online Safety Calendar 2023-24!

The calendar looks at opportunities to address online safety throughout the year and to explore topics such as respectful online communication, image-sharing, consent, online wellbeing and digital media literacy. It is also a useful way to keep track of international and national days that may be of interest to students and teachers alike, including Global Media Literacy Week, Universal Children’s Day, International Day of Friendship, and Safer Internet Day which takes place on Tuesday, February 6th, 2024.

They have also included free resources and activities which are great to use to promote a positive school environment and to tackle issues that may arise during the year like cyberbullying and image-sharing. Webwise has a dedicated Teachers section that offers support, advice and free resources that are ideal for use in the classroom, and a useful AUP Generator Tool for schools who want to develop or update their Acceptable Use Policy. This tool is free for teachers and schools to use. They have an Internet Safety Talk for Parents which is designed to help schools who wish to organise a parents evening. Webwise also hosts a Safer Internet Day Ambassador Programme for Post-Primary students.

Download our Online Safety Calendar for the academic year 2023-2024


A wonderful Powerpoint Presentation using the Beatitudes to encourage good judgment whilst online.

February 8th    International Day of Prayer & Awareness against Human Trafficking/Lá Idirnáisiunta chun aird a dhíriú ar mhangaireacht daonna agus guí ina choinne

“Be confident of this, that the One Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6) Inspired by the commitment of young people from all over the world, the theme of the 10th Edition International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking 2024 is:


The International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking (IDPAAHT) is celebrated annually on the Feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita on 8 February, since formally observed in 2015. The primary objective of this Day is to create a greater awareness of the phenomenon of human trafficking and to reflect on the situation of violence and injustice that affects so many people’s lives. Another goal is to attempt to provide solutions to counter human trafficking by taking concrete actions.

The theme of the 10th Edition of the Day continued on from 2023 (Journeying in Dignity), chosen by an international group of young people involved in the fight against trafficking. This year, the subtitle LISTEN, DREAM, ACT is added to materialize the “Call to Action” commitment made by the international representatives of young people gathered in Rome in February 2023.

The 10th Edition has the following objectives:

  • To pray together as brothers and sisters of all ages, cultures, and faiths to end human trafficking and other forms of exploitation;
  • Raising awareness about human trafficking at all levels – local churches, traditions, and communities;
  • Celebrating the 10th year anniversary of the Day with partners and people of goodwill;
  • Closing the year dedicated to young people (2023-2024). With this: LET US LISTEN “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29: 11)

Read the whole presentation’s theme document.


  • 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.  
  • For a Prayer Vigil 2023 (older age group) please click HERE
  • What can we do to raise awareness and end human trafficking, watch this video about what the parish of Los Angelus are doing (4mins): HERE
  • Why not brainstorm with your class as to how as a group they can organise a prayer service for this day. What symbols would they use, where would they have it, songs for the service, devise their prayers etc.


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 HERE
  • This is a link to a powerful song on the issues, quite strong (6 minutes): “Can you see me?” by Margaret Scharf OP HERE
  • For a clear youtube video on her life click HERE


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 HERE


February 10th          International Day of Women and Girls in Science / Lá Idirnáisiúnta Tiomnaithe do Mhná agus do Chailíní san Eolaíocht

Recognizing the role of women and girls in science as agents of change, including in view of accelerating progress towards the achievement of SDGs 16 and 17, the 9th International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly’s main theme is:

Women and Girls in Science Leadership, a New Era for Sustainability

and the subtheme is “Think Science … Think Peace”.

The 9th Assembly will bring together women in science leaders and experts from around the world, high-level government officials, representatives of international organizations, and the private sector to discuss women’s leadership in achieving the three pillars of Sustainable Development, namely economic prosperity, social justice, and environmental integrity.


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.

The message from Pope Francis for the 32nd World Day of the Sick entitled “It is not good that man should be alone”.  Healing the Sick by Healing Relationships be sourced HERE

Significance and Objectives

The primary objectives of World Day of the Sick include:

  • Promoting Compassion: The day emphasizes the importance of showing compassion and empathy towards individuals who are sick, recognizing their dignity, and providing them with the care and support they need.
  • Recognizing Caregivers: World Day of the Sick acknowledges the valuable contributions of healthcare professionals, caregivers, and volunteers who work tirelessly to alleviate suffering and provide comfort to patients.
  • Highlighting Healthcare Challenges: It provides an opportunity to raise awareness about healthcare challenges, disparities in access to care, and the need for improved healthcare services globally.
  • Encouraging Prayer and Reflection: For many, this day is an occasion for prayer, reflection, and spiritual renewal. It invites people to contemplate the meaning of suffering and illness in the context of their faith.
  • For further information click HERE
  • 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.


Live from Lourdes Grotto

11th FEBRUARY 2024

Monday, 11th February, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

  • 00 am Holy Mass in English (Saints Cosmas and Damian) or
    10.00 am International Mass (Basilica Saint Pius X) 
  • 30 pm English Rosary at the Grotto
  • 30 pm Presentation of the Message of Lourdes (Saints Cosmas and Damian Chapel, next to the Reconciliation Chapel)
  • 30 pm Anointing of the Sick
  • 00 pm Torchlight Procession on the Esplanade
  • 3:00 p.m. Rosary at the Grotto
  • 5:00 p.m. Eucharistic worship and blessing of the sick, presided over by Mgr. Micas.
  • 9:00 p.m. Torchlight Procession

Let us entrust our intentions to Our Lady of Lourdes

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 click HERE
  • You can read more about St Valentine click HERE
  • To access a PowerPoint presentation n St Valentine please click HERE (compliments of A.C.T.)
  • For a class plan on the topic of Love compliments of Diocese of Waterford & Lismore click HERE

February 14th: Ash Wednesday / Céadaoin an Luaithrigh

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of 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.” The 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.

  • Fabulous 6 page lesson plan with embedded videos from Diocese of Waterford & Lismore click HERE
  • A 3 lesson plan from Kildare & Leighlin can be sourced HERE
  • You can also source the Stations of the Cross Pack HERE
  • View a 3-minute YouTube video from Busted Halo explaining Lent click HERE
  • Also, a 3-minute video from The Religion Teacher explaining Lent HERE
  • 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
  • For further Lenten prayers, songs, websites, check out the resources on our Diocesan website HERE


Lent is a time of preparation for the celebration of Christ’s Death and Resurrection at Easter. Lasting for forty days – from Ash Wednesday to the evening of Holy Thursday – the season draws us towards the light of Christ.

  • Sign up to receive Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe’s Lenten Reflections email series at For more information click HERE
  • Ceist Catholic Education – Lenton Resources click HERE
  • Catholic Link – Lent 2022: The Best Catholic Resources – Click HERE
  • For easy to download Prayers, Reflections cards and some activities relating to lent click HERE
  • For information and activity packs relating to Lent Click HERE
  • Trocaire has produced some great resources for Lent and you will find them at the following links:
  • Faitharts have a collection of resources for Lent


  • Ashes (Tom Conry). Click HERE
  • Dona Nobis Pacem. Click
  • You Are Mine (David Haas). Click HERE
  • What Wondrous Love. Click HERE
  • Bless the Lord, my soul (Taizé). Click HERE
  • On Eagles’ Wings (Michael Joncas). Click HERE
  • Your Faith in Me (Ian Callanan). Click HERE
  • Psalm 91 “Be with Me, Lord” (Marty Haugen). Click HERE
  • The Clouds’ Veil (Liam Lawton). Click HERE

Living Lent Daily:

  • “This Lent, foster a daily practice of spiritual calm where God is at the centre. Living Lent Daily is a daily e-mail series delivering fresh reflections based on the Scriptures of Lent. Each day’s message includes a quotation from the day’s Scripture readings and a brief reflection for meditation and prayer. The messages also include suggestions for further exploration of Lenten themes through additional online articles and prayers.” Click HERE to sign up.   

Why not have a look at the following 25 things that are suggested for Lent.  Cut up the various suggestions and get each of your students to pick one out (without looking) and commit to what they have chosen for one week. 

You can change the suggestions or change some of the wording to suit your class and age profile.  Some might not be suitable as they are American based so have a look first and change to suit.

25 Great Things You Can Do for Lent

Besides giving up chocolate


Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the 40 days of preparation for the Easter season when Christians are called to deepen their spiritual lives through the practices of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. The belief is that our consistent participation in these practices — like exercise we do for our physical health — improves our spiritual well-being by stripping away all that is unnecessary and becoming more mindful of how God is working in our lives. Challenge yourself this year, and go beyond the usual practice of “giving up” something. Now is a great time to take stock of your spiritual life and to grow in it. Not sure where to start? Check out these 25 ideas:

  1. Make a commitment to read the Sundayscriptures beforeSunday Mass. In the same way that reading up on football players, opposing teams, and coaching strategies will help you experience a game more fully, familiarizing yourself with the readings ahead of time will help you experience them in a deeper way on Sunday.
  2. Use Busted Halo’s Lent Calendar, filled with Lenten-themed Daily Jolts and MicroChallengesto find new ways to practice the disciplines of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Each day of Lent, we’ll offer an inspirational quote paired with a practical, challenging task that you can do that day to help keep your spiritual life on point. You can also find these challenges on our website, or when you follow us on Facebookor Twitter.
  3. Try a new spiritual practice. Sign up for an hour of Eucharistic Adoration. Experience Mass at a parish that’s made up of people from a different racial/ethnic group. Sign up for a silent retreat or spend at least one hour in silent meditation each weekend.
  4. Think about what you usually spend your money on. Do you buy too many clothes? Spend too much on dinner out? Pick one type of expenditure that you’ll “fast” from during Lent, and then give the money you would usually spend to a local charity.
  5. Take something on — 40 days of letter writing, 40 acts of kindness, 40 phone calls to the important people in your life.
  6. When you first sit down in front of your computer at work, or at the very end of your workday, try a 10-minute guided prayer from Sacred Spacebased on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius.
  7. Go to (or watch) a weekday Mass one day during the week. Many parishes offer them early in the morning, at noon, or after work. Daily Masses are often more intimate and shorter than Sunday Mass.
  8. If you don’t have a cross in your apartment or house, buy a simple one and put it in your bedroom.
  9. Use Busted Halo’s InstaLent Photo Challengefor daily, creative doses of Lenten spirituality. Post a photo each day and encounter the themes of Lent on a visual, personal level.
  10. Instead of turning on a streaming service for your next binge-watching session, read the entire Gospel of Markin one sitting. As the shortest Gospel, it is the most concise story of Jesus’ life, and the cross, a central Lenten symbol, plays an even more prominent role than in the other Gospels.
  11. Meditate with the Stations of the Cross. Many parishes offer these during Lent and often on Fridays. Or check out Busted Halo’s Virtual Stations of the Cross.
  12. Create your own Friday fish fry! Try this simple and delicious recipe. It’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but a fun Catholic tradition to help you abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent.
  13. Unplug from your iPhone or turn off your car radio on your commute. The silence may be jarring at first, but you may find that you are able to concentrate better and will be more observant of your surroundings.
  14. Buy a book of daily reflections and keep it by your bed. Local parishes often offer these for purchase during Lent, and there are some good ones available online.
  15. Think about a habit that has kept you from being whom God is calling you to be. Consciously give up that habit for Lent.
  16. Spend at least one weekend or evening volunteering during Lent. If you feel comfortable volunteering in person, help package meals at your local soup kitchen or stock shelves at a food pantry. If you’d rather volunteer from home, reach out to your parish to see how your skills might help serve on of the church committees. 
  17. Make a commitment to fast from insensitive, cruel comments about others. So, no gossiping or going down the Twitter rabbit hole.
  18. Participate in a spiritual book club or small community of faith. Check out what’s already going on at your parish or pick a book and start your own.
  19. As a part of your Lenten almsgiving, make a point to learn more about a particular social issue (immigration, human trafficking, racism, the environment, public education, child poverty). Give money to an organization related to your chosen issue that supports the dignity of the human person.
  20. Tap into your creative side and try using coloring as a way to pray and meditate during Lent. Buy a coloring bookor download a Lent calendar coloring page here.
  21. Use the Mary’s Meals Website to reflect on the realities of people in need around the world and devote prayers, fasting, and almsgiving to changing the lives of the poor.
  22. Pray for somebody. Whether you are in the car, walking from one class to another, from school to home, or just waiting on class to start, pick out a person who appears to be in need and prayfor that person. Be mindful of the words of philosopher Philo of Alexandria, who said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”
  23. Plan a meal for your family, purchase, prepare and clean up afterwards.
  24. Read the Works of Mercy as Jesus describes them in Matthew 25:31-46. Then put this teaching into practice and choose an act of service you can perform throughout Lent.
  25. Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Can’t remember how? Here’s a simple guidewith some tips. Tell the priest it’s been a while, and ask him to guide you through it.

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
  • For more information on Matt Talbot please click HERE

 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


For further information click here: HERE  & HERE



1.     Advocate for a social cause

There are several social issues that need attention. Do your research and advocate for a cause. It could be anything related to race, education, healthcare, malnutrition, etc. Use social media to conduct a digital campaign. Start a conversation, build dialog, call for action, and try to make a difference in the world.

2.     Organize a social justice event

There are many social justice events that take place around the world to raise awareness. You can either start one in your own neighborhood to attract more people or volunteer to host an already recurring event. Contribute with your time and efforts to create a fair world for everyone.

3.     Educate yourself on social issues

Many social issues go unnoticed due to the lack of information available in the world. Equip yourself with adequate knowledge through books, conversations with the most affected groups.

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.

 February 24th  : Day of Prayer for Survivors and Victims of Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis and the Bishops of Ireland established a National Day of Prayer for survivors and victims of abuse.  In 2019 the Irish Bishops introduced a Candle and Prayer of Atonement as part of this day. This year the Day of Prayer will take place on Friday,  24 February.  For prayer resources and more information on this Day of Prayer please click HERE