THE FAMILY ZONE
Equipping the Domestic Church/ISSUE 131/2.04.24
On February 14, Catholics will observe Ash Wednesday. You may also recognize the date as Valentine's Day! Ash Wednesday begins our liturgical season of Lent; a time of sacrifice and penance. Its commencement on Valentine's Day gives us a great opportunity to focus on the meaning of love. Day-to-day love is much less about candy hearts and chocolates and much more about how we sacrifice in both large and small ways for the ones we love and even those we don't know! Maybe February 14 can be a day in which small acts of kindness and service toward those in your family or community can represent the true purpose of Valentine's Day: to celebrate the beauty of the virtue of love!
"The Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) . . . is sung or said on Sundays outside Advent and Lent, and also on Solemnities and Feasts, and at particular celebrations of a more solemn character."
"The Alleluia is sung in every time of year other than Lent. During Lent, instead of the Alleluia, the verse before the Gospel as given in the Lectionary is sung."
This week, when you go to Mass, invite your kids to observe what else they notice as different in this new liturgical season.
SHARE YOUR FAITH
You can access the daily readings and the Sunday readings for Mass at: https://bible.usccb.org/
Family Faith Conversation: On Sunday, Feb. 4, the first reading from Job talks about his misery and his discontent about life. He seems hopeless. Have you ever had a time when nothing seems like it is going right and you feel hopeless? How can you find help when you are feeling that way? What types of things do you do to turn your mood around? How can you support one another when you are going through difficult times, so no one feels hopeless?
CONNECT TO OUR CHURCH YEAR
On February 11, our Church observes the World Day of the Sick which is the day that we honor Our Lady of Lourdes. Visiting the sick is a Corporal Work of Mercy, one of the things we do in our faith to live a moral life outlined for us by Jesus, who spent a great deal of time healing the sick. This week is a wonderful time for your family to show compassion to those who are sick and talk about why we are called to do that as Catholic Christians. Besides St. Bernadette, who found the spring that became Lourdes, a place visited by thousands each year for healing, there are many special saints connected to illness and healing. St. Damien of Molokai healed and lived in solidarity with lepers on a small island in Hawaii. He was assisted in his mission by St. Marianne Cope. St. Josemaria Escriva suffered from diabetes and is the Patron Saint of diabetics, St. Peregrine is the Patron Saint of cancer patients, St. Dymphna is the Patron Saint of those who struggle with mental wellness and emotional distress, and St. Teresa of Avila is the Patron Saint for those with headaches. These are just a few of the saints whose intercession you can request on behalf of your illness or of someone you care for!
Learn about prayer intentions by watching this very short video together, and then engage your family in creating prayer intentions for those who are sick, in observance of World Day of the Sick.
In conjunction with World Day of the Sick, consider serving those who are ill, in the hospital or in nursing homes. Perhaps you have a community member in treatment whose family could use a meal, or you can send cheerful cards or valentines to be distributed at a nursing home. You can also check with local hospitals to see if they accept chemo care kits or blessing bags for kids.
This year the Pope's theme for the day is "Healing the Sick by Healing Relationships." He says: "The sick, the vulnerable, and the poor are at the heart of the Church; they must also be at the heart of our human concern and pastoral attention." Invite your family to build a relationship with an elderly person or a person who is suffering from an illness.
Some families like to instill the tradition of doing something together to observe the season of Lent. If you think this is a good path for your family here are some ideas about ways you can begin or continue the tradition:
1. Recite the Rosary or Stations of the Cross together every Friday of Lent.
2. Make the meals provided in the CRS Rice Bowl materials on each meatless day of Lent.
3. Host a Mardi Gras celebration to enjoy a feast the night before Lent starts and then give up a food item completely during the 40 days, such as sugar or butter.
4. Simplify your lives by getting rid of a thing a day, for 40 days.
5. Choose a charity to assist by donation as well as in-person service throughout the season.
Office of Evangelization and Catechesis
Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester
Editor: Leslie Barkin email@example.comDebtor in Possession
Location: Diocese of Rochester, Buffalo Road, Rochester, NY, USA