I’ve decided to simplify my monthly feast day posts this year, mainly to make sure I can get them done and posted in time :) Rather than sharing a broad overview of ways to celebrate lots of major feast days, I’m taking it home a little by sharing just the few we’ve chosen to focus on for the month ahead, and what we plan to do to celebrate. By sharing in this way, I hope to open up the conversation about why we choose the specific celebrations we do and how they’re significant to our family–I’d LOVE to hear the same from any readers who are also striving to live the liturgical year intentionally. I’ve already learned a ton from the comments people have shared over the last year about what liturgical living looks like in their own families. After a little bit of a post-Advent and Christmas breather during January, I’m so excited about the days and saints we’re celebrating in February!
Two of these feast days–the Presentation of the Lord and Our Lady of Lourdes–are pretty significant ones in the Church as a whole, so those were immediate “yeses” for us. As for the other two I picked, St. Paul Miki and Companions and St. Josephine Bakhita, their place on our calendar was inspired by something Shannon Evans shared in an Instagram caption once last year. She posted a photo of St. Charles Lwanga and said in her caption “He is a Ugandan martyr, but you may not have heard of him because our airtime tends to be reserved for European saints. (If you feel defensive about that statement, it’s okay. Take a moment to respond with honesty and curiosity about whether it could be true…).” That struck a chord with me because, well, it was sadly true. One of the BEST things about Catholicism is its universality, across history and across the world, and I want to make a conscious effort to look beyond America and Europe for examples of holiness and great faith. Have anyone in mind I should know about? Please let me know below!
February 2: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
This was one of the first feast days we celebrated last year, so it will now forever have a special place in my heart! The traditional food associated with it is crêpes (since they look like the swaddle that baby Jesus would have been wrapped in), so we’re going to give this dairy-free version a whirl for breakfast before Mass.
February 6: St. Paul Miki and Companions
This feast honors the 26 Japanese martyrs, including St. Paul Miki, who were crucified and stabbed with lances on this day in 1597 because of their Catholic faith. Along with reading their story to learn more about them, we’re going to pray a rosary specifically for persecuted Christians around the world. More Christians have died for their faith in the 20th century than in the previous 19 centuries combined (source), and while it’s easy to forget that in the relative safety and freedom of religion in America, it’s something I need to commit to praying about more fervently.
February 8: St. Josephine Bakhita
I first heard about St. Josephine Bakhita in one of Charlie’s books, of all places (this one, and it’s phenomenal)! All I really want to do on her feast day this year is to take the time to learn more about her, so I’m carving out some time to read and research whatever I can find online.
February 11: Our Lady of Lourdes
St. Bernadette is the unofficial patron saint of those suffering from allergies, so we bless Charlie with holy water from Lourdes every night and pray for Our Lady of Lourdes’ intercession for his healing. We are starting the Our Lady of Lourdes novena on Saturday (let me know if we can add any prayers for healing for you or a loved one to our intentions!) and will go to the Marian grotto of Sacred Heart Church (which depicts Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette–throwback photo of Charlie at the grotto last year above!) for the final prayer and to bring flowers to Mary. We’ll also let Charlie watch the St. Bernadette video on Formed (also available on DVD here), which he is a big fan of :)