The month of February is dedicated to the Holy Family.
The special devotion which proposes the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the model of virtue of all Christian households began in the 17th century. It started almost simultaneously in Canada and France: the Association of the Holy Family was founded in Montreal in 1663, and by the Daughters of the Holy Family in Paris in 1674. This devotion soon spread and in 1893 Pope Leo XIII expressed his approval of a feast under this title and himself composed part of the Office. On account of the flight into Egypt this feast has been observed by the Copts from early times. The feast was welcomed by succeeding Pontiffs as an efficacious means for bringing home to the Christian people the example of the Holy Family at Nazareth, and by the restoration of the true spirit of family life, stemming, in some measure, the evils of present-day society. In the words of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, “Nothing truly can be more salutary or efficacious for Christian families to meditate upon than the example of this Holy Family, which embraces the perfection and completeness of all domestic virtues.”
February 2019 – Overview for the Month
The month of February is dedicated to the Holy Family. This year the entire month of February falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time which is represented by the liturgical colour green. Green, the symbol of hope, is the colour of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection.
From Feast to Fast
Though the shortest month of the year, February is rich in Liturgical activity. It contains a feast (Presentation of our Lord) that bridges two other seasons (Christmas and Easter)! In addition, the faithful may receive in February two of the four major public sacramentals that the Church confers during the liturgical year: blessed candles and the blessing of throats. The Solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd harkens back to the Christmas mystery of Light except that now, Christ, the helpless babe, is “the Light of Revelation to the Gentiles who will save his people from their sins.” Candles, symbolising Christ our Light, will be carried in procession this day, as will be the Paschal candle during the Easter Vigil Liturgy.
“The Light of Revelation” shines more brightly with each successive Sunday of Ordinary Time, until its magnificence – exposing our sinfulness and need for conversion – propels us into the penitential Season of Lent. We prepare to accept the cross of blessed ashes on Ash Wednesday (March 1) and plunge ourselves into anticipating the major exercises of Lent – fasting, prayer, alms giving – laying our thoughts and prayers on the heart of our Mother Mary. She, who offered her Son in the temple and on the Cross, will teach us how to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow after her Son.
Highlights of the Month
The month of February is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Family. Between the events which marked Christmas and the beginning of Christ’s public life the Church has seen fit to recall the example of the Holy Family for the emulation of the Christian family. The Feast of the Presentation (February 2) or Candlemas forms a fitting transition from Christmas to Easter. The small Christ-Child is still in His Mother’s arms, but already she is offering Him in sacrifice.
The saints that we will focus on this month and try to imitate are St. Agatha (February 5), St. Paul Miki & Companions (February 6), St. Jerome Emiliani and St. Josephine Bakhita (February 8), Our Lady of Lourdes (February 11), Sts. Cyril and Methodius (February 14), St. Peter Damian (February 21), Chair of St. Peter (February 22) and St. Polycarp (February 23). The feast of St. Blaise (February 3), St. Scholastica (February 10) and the Seven Founders of the Orders of Servites (February 17) will not be celebrated this year because they are superseded by the Sunday liturgy.