February 1st St. Brigid’s Day / Lá Fhéile Bríde
Brigid is one of the great saints 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.” People ask her blessing on themselves, their families and their work. They use her name in prayer. “Brid agus Muire dhuit” was one old Irish blessing. For further resources and a short video on how to make St. Brigid’s day crosses see:
Féile Bríde – Brigid’s Festival is a week- long series of events commencing on the eve of St. Brigid’s Day, the first day of February.
Féile Bríde, incorporates a Peace and Justice conference in collaboration with Afri – Action from Ireland, workshops, and a candle-lit ritual on Brigid’s Eve at the well. Pilgrimage and a Peace and Justice Conference are core components. For further information see http://solasbhride.ie/feile-bride/
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. St. Blaise is known as the Patron of throat Illnesses. For some short, interesting videos on St. Blaise see:
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, “Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity.” “It’s a disgrace that people are treated as objects, deceived, raped, often sold many times for different purposes and, in the end, killed or, in any case, physically and mentally damaged, ending up thrown away and abandoned.”
“I encourage those who work helping the men, women and children who are enslaved, exploited, abused as instruments of work or pleasure, who are often tortured and mutilated. It is my hope that government leaders may work decisively to remove the causes of this disgraceful scourge; it is a scourge unworthy of society. May each one of us feel committed to being a voice for our brothers and sisters, who have been humiliated in their dignity.”
The feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita (1869 to 1947) is 8th February. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Union of Superiors General has designated 8th February, her feast day, as an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking.
Josephine 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.
On this day Catholics all over the world are encouraged to host or attend prayer services to create greater awareness against human trafficking and for those who work to end human trafficking.. Through prayer, we not only reflect on the experiences of those that have suffered through this affront to human dignity, but also comfort, strengthen, and help empower victims and survivors.
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.
World Day of the Sick 2020: This year’s theme is on Hope in the Face of Suicide.
The World Day of the Sick Seminar will take place on Saturday, February 8th from 9.30am to 1.00pm in the Newtown Parish Pastoral Centre, Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin.
The World Day of the Sick Mass will take place on Sunday 9th February in Church of the Guardian Angels, Newtontownpark Avenue, Blackrock.
For further information please contact – Trish Conway on M: 087 6220349.
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.
February 11th International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Lá Idirnáisiúnta Tiomnaithe do Mhná agus do Chailíní san Eolaíocht
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.
“On this International Day, I urge commitment to end bias, greater investments in science, technology, engineering and math education for all women and girls as well as opportunities for their careers and longer-term professional advancement so that all can benefit from their ground-breaking future contributions,” UN Secretary-General, António Guterres.
February 11th Safer Internet Day /Sábháilteacht ar an Idirlíon
“Together for a better internet“/“Le chéile le haghaidh sábháilteachta na hIdirlíne”
Get set for Safer Internet Day 2020, taking place on Tuesday, 11 February 2020, when – once again – we’ll join forces across the globe to work “Together for a better internet“.
Excellent resources and the latest news and articles about the campaign available at: https://www.saferinternetday.org/web/sid/resources/gallery
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.
February 20th World Day of Social Justice
Lá Domhanda Tiomnaithe do Cheartas Sóisialta
Since 2009, every 20 February has been the UN observance known as “World Day of Social Justice”. The purpose of the day is to focus on the plight of social injustice throughout the world and to press for improvements and solutions.
“Social justice” is defined, for the purpose of the observance, as including issues of poverty, unemployment, and unfair exclusion that results in economic harm or social ostracism.
On World Day of Social Justice, there are media campaigns to raise awareness of the need for better social justice both within nations and between nations. Promoting human rights, removing artificial social barriers based on race, gender, or religion, and standing up for the rights of migrants, the disabled, and the elderly are among the observance’s themes on any given year.