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February 11

Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes On this day we also remember and offer prayers for those who are sick and suffering. The late Pope John Paul II declared that this day should be also the World Day of the Sick. For this year we will celebrate its 14th year.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in southern France is the most visited pilgrimage site in the world -- principally because of the apparent healing properties of the waters of the spring that appeared during the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a poor and sickly fourteen-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubiroux.

The first apparition occurred February 11, 1858. There were eighteen in all; the last took place July 16, of the same year. The mysterious vision Bernadette saw in the hollow of the rock Massabielle, where she and friends had gone to gather firewood, was that of a young and beautiful lady. "Lovelier than I have ever seen" said the child. She described the Lady as clothed in white, with a blue ribbon sash and a Rosary handing from her right arm. Now and then the apparition spoke to Bernadette.

One day, the Lady told the girl to drink of a mysterious fountain within the grotto itself, the existence of which was unknown, and of which there was no sign. But Bernadette scratched at the ground, and a spring immediately bubbled up and soon gushed forth. On another occasion the apparition bade Bernadette go and tell the priests she wished a chapel to be built on the spot and processions to be made to the grotto. At first the clergy were incredulous. The priest said he would not believe it unless the apparition gave Bernadette her name. After another apparition, Bernadette reported that the Lady told her, "I am the Immaculate Conception". Though the girl was unfamiliar with the term, the Pope had declared the doctrine of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary in 1854.

Four years after Bernadette's visions, in 1862, the bishop of the diocese declared the faithful "justified in believing the reality of the apparition" of Our Lady. A basilica was built upon the rock of Massabielle by M. Peyramale, the parish priest. In 1873 the great "national" French pilgrimages were inaugurated. Three years later the basilica was consecrated and the statue solemnly crowned. In 1883 the foundation stone of another church was laid, as the first was no longer large enough. It was built at the foot of the basilica and was consecrated in 1901 and called the Church of the Rosary.

A large church called a basilica was built where Bernadette saw Our Lady. Although the apparitions took place over a hundred years ago, miracles still happen there. Many people are cured of sicknesses. Crippled people walk again. Blind people see again. Lonely, broken people find hope again. There, where she once appeared to St. Bernadette, Our Lady still shows her love for us.

The grotto is being visited by many pilgrims especially those who are sick because it is believed that you will be healed. And many other Miracles can happen after you visit the grotto.

February 17
Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites

Seven members of Florentine Confraternity founded the Order of Servites of the blessed Virgin Mary. The Servites lead a life of prayer and mortification, meditating constantly on the Passion of the Lord, and venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Sorrows.

This order was founded on the feast of the Assumption, 1233 when the Blessed Virgin appeared to seven noble Florentines, who had repaired to the church to follow the exercises of the Confraternity of the Laudesi, and bade them leave the world and live for God alone. Then on Good Friday, 13 April 1240, the hermits received a vision of Our Lady. She held in her hand the black habit, and a nearby angel bore a scroll reading Servants of Mary, Mary told them: “You will found a new order, and you will be my witnesses throughout the world. This is your name: Servants of Mary. This is your rule: that of Saint Augustine. And here is your distinctive sign: the black scapular, in memory of my sufferings.”

Soon after, when the seven were begging alms from door to door in the streets of Florence, they suddenly heard children's voices calling to them, "Servants of holy Mary." Among these children was St. Philip Benizi, then just five months old. Hereafter they were known by this name, first heard from the lips of children. In the course of time they retired into solitude on Monte Senario and gave themselves wholly to contemplation and penance.

The seven founders were:

1. Alexis Falconieri
2. Bartholomew degli Amidei
3. Benedict dell'Antella
4. Buonfiglio Monaldi
5. Gherardino Sostegni
6. Hugh dei Lippi-Uguccioni
7. John Buonagiunta Monetti

February 21
Peter Damian

Bishop and Doctor of the Church

"Let us faithfully transmit to posterity the example of virtue which we have received from our forefathers." -Saint Peter Damian

Peter Damian was very good to the poor. It was the ordinary thing for him to have a poor person or two with him at table and he liked to minister personally to their needs.

St. Peter Damian was born in 1007, and was left an orphan as a little child. He was taken in by an older brother who abused and starved him. Another brother named Damian became aware of the boy's real situation. He brought him to his own home. It was then that Peter's life took on a whole new direction. He was treated with love, affection and care. So grateful was he that when he became a religious he took the name Damian after his loving brother. Damian educated Peter and encouraged his studies. Peter eventually taught at the university while he was in his twenties. He was thought of as a great teacher. But the Lord was directing him in ways he could never have thought of.

Peter lived in times when many in the Church were too influenced by secular goals. Peter realized that the Church is divine and has the grace from Jesus to save all people. He wanted the Church to shine with the holiness of Jesus. After seven years of teaching, he made the decision to become a monk. He wanted to live the rest of his life in prayer and penance. He would pray and sacrifice so that many people in the Church would become holy. He went to a monastery of St. Romuald. Peter Damian wrote a rule for the monks. He also wrote a life of their holy founder, Romuald. Peter wrote many works of theology to help people deepen their faith. Twice his abbot sent him to neighboring monasteries. He helped the monks begin reforms that would encourage them to live closer to God. The monks were grateful because Peter was so kind and respectful.
Peter was finally called from the monastery. He became a bishop and a cardinal. He was sent on very important missions for various popes throughout his long life.

Because he was a champion of truth and a peacemaker, he was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828.

February 22
Chair of St. Peter

Since early times, the Roman Church has had a special commemoration of the primatial authority of St. Peter. As witness one of the most renowned of the Apostolic Fathers, the Roman See has always held a peculiar place in the affection and obedience of orthodox believers because of its "presiding in love" and service over all the Churches of God.
The feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome reminds us that St. Peter started the Christian community in that city. The special chair is a symbol of the authority that was given to him by Jesus. Kings of old sat on thrones and ruled. Peter's chair is
a symbol of his authority from Jesus to rule the Church.

St. Peter was martyred for the faith, but down through the ages there has always been a bishop of Rome. He is the pope. The pope rules the whole Church, as St. Peter did, in Jesus' name. We call the successor of St. Peter the Holy Father.

St. Peter was the prince of the apostles and the first pope. Jesus said to him, "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). After Jesus went back to heaven, St. Peter preached the Gospel. He guided the small but growing Christian community. At first, Peter labored in Jerusalem and in Antioch, two big cities of the east. Later, he went to preach the Gospel in Rome, the capital of the world.

The evils of pagan Rome would drown his voice no matter how dedicated he may be. But the Holy Spirit was alive in Peter. He courageously took up the ministry Jesus had left him. Never again would Peter deny his Lord. Never again would Peter put his own personal well-being before the good of the Church.


On this day we also remember and offer prayers for those who are sick and suffering.

Seven members of Florentine Confraternity founded the Order of Servites of the blessed Virgin Mary.

Bishop and Doctor of the Church. "Let us faithfully transmit to posterity the example of virtue which.

Since early times, the Roman Church has had a special commemoration of the primatial authority of St. Peter.
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“Jesus’ Baptism”

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?


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