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Sunday, Jan 29, 2023
Blessed are the children—meek and otherwise

Children come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. They possess abilities, talents, and interests, many of which may lie hidden for years to come. Not all young ones, to be sure, are properly described as meek. But it's certain that, one day, the children will inherit the land. Preparing them for this vital task is the job of every grownup in their lives. This week we celebrate Catholic schools, dedicated to assisting families in the education and formation of their children. Book learning is available at any school. Faith and character aren't always on the curriculum. Support our schools!

FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
TODAY'S READINGS: Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 5:1-12a (70). "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land."

Monday, Jan 30, 2023
The only way they’ll know you are a Christian

Mohandas Gandhi, who led India’s campaign for independence from British rule and whose birthday is today, once said, “If it weren’t for Christians, I’d be a Christian.” Followers of all religions, including Gandhi’s Hinduism, at times do reprehensible things that run completely counter to what those religions teach. As a member of a colonized people, Gandhi certainly saw the worst of what Christians are capable of. But his statement isn’t entirely a rebuke—Christ spoke to his heart. Jesus told us that we will be recognized as his disciples by our love for one another. Ask yourself how well you represent your faith.

TODAY'S READINGS: Hebrews 11:32-40; Mark 5:1-20 (323). “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023
A love that works

At the height of the Industrial Revolution, impoverished Italian boys were drawn to the city of Turin in search of factory work. But, for many reasons, they fell on hard times and were often jailed. Saint John Bosco helped them with lodging, education, vocational training, and just plain patience and loving care. He also protected young workers from unscrupulous employers by crafting signed apprenticeship agreements—the first real employment contracts used in Europe. He revolutionized the work of educators, too, writing: “Without confidence and love, there can be no true education. If you want to be loved … you must love yourselves, and make your children feel that you love them.”

MEMORIAL OF JOHN BOSCO, PRIEST, RELIGIOUS FOUNDER
TODAY'S READINGS: Hebrews 12:1-4; Mark 5:21-43 (324). “Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.”

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023
May the force be with you

Faith gives us strength. It allows us to perform mighty deeds. But to be clear, as Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho explains, "Faith is not desire. Faith is will. Desires are things that need to be satisfied. Will is a force that changes everything around us." In God's realm, where our faith resides, we are each whole and complete and nothing is impossible. Address today's challenges through the lens of faith.

TODAY'S READINGS: Hebrews 12:4-7, 11-15; Mark 6:1-6 (325). “He was not able to perform any mighty deed there . . . . He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

Thursday, Feb 02, 2023
Make a perfect offering of your life

Today’s feast marks an ancient Jewish tradition in which the firstborn child was “consecrated to the Lord” by way of two sacrificial turtledoves or young pigeons offered at the Temple 40 days after birth. The mother, considered ritually unclean after giving birth, was also purified on this same day. But the visit of Mary and Joseph to present the infant Jesus is unique, marked by an outpouring of prophecy. Simon and Anna testify that a light has come into the world and that salvation is at hand. We honor the link to ancient tradition as we celebrate the Presentation today, but we also appreciate how Jesus not only fulfills but surpasses all the traditions of his time and place. Here at last is the perfect offering.

FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD
TODAY'S READINGS: Malachi 3:1-4; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40 (524). “The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him.”

Friday, Feb 03, 2023
Be a healing light

The historical details of Saint Blaise’s fourth-century life in what is now modern-day Turkey are lost in the shroud of the centuries, but the tradition of his healing powers endures. The healing of throat diseases is what is most ascribed to him. When Blaise was imprisoned during a persecution of Christians, he apparently healed a choking boy with the aid of candles that lit his dark cell. On another level, the enduring tradition speaks to the ongoing need for healing that we all share. Whether it be a physical ailment or a wounded soul that needs tending, say a prayer today to Saint Blaise, the keeper of the flame.

MEMORIAL OF BLAISE, BISHOP, MARTYR
TODAY'S READINGS: Hebrews 13:1-8; Mark 6:14-29 (327). “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Your presence, O LORD, I seek.”

Saturday, Feb 04, 2023
Lift your voice in freedom’s song

Today is the birthday of Rosa Parks, on the fourth day of Black History Month. Parks wrote: “I felt the Lord would give me the strength to endure whatever I had to face.” When she refused to surrender her bus seat in 1955, she said her Christian faith told her “it was time for someone to stand up—or, in my case, sit down.” Parks grew up in a devout family. Her own sweet dreams of freedom began with her mother singing old African-American spirituals that drew on biblical stories and psalms filled with cries of lament and hope for salvation. Tap into the strength of song as you play your part in the fight for justice. Choose a spiritual to pray with today.

TODAY'S READINGS: Hebrews 13:15-17, 20-21; Mark 6:30-34 (328). “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have.”

Sunday, Feb 05, 2023
Lord, hold the center together

Author and black Catholic educator Therese Wilson Favors wrote some rousing words for today's observance, the National Day of Prayer for the African American Family: "At times when the strain of life is heaviest within our families, 'holding-on power' is needed. Perseverance is the glue squeezed out from the soul and spoken in prayer at the midnight hour. Perseverance is the spiritual machine needed to break down the mountain and push through from weakness to strength. Lord, let me hold on just a little bit longer." Pray for black families and all families vulnerable to social forces that embattle them.

FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
TODAY'S READINGS: Isaiah 58:7-10; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Matthew 5:13-16 (73). “Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.”

Monday, Feb 06, 2023
Be nourished by his rain

Almost 350 years before the second atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, it was the site of another tragedy—the place where 26 Christian martyrs were crucified on a hill, now known as Holy Mountain. The best known of the martyrs was Brother Paul Miki, a native Japanese member of the Jesuit order. While hanging on his cross, he continued to preach, expressing thanks to God that he was dying for teaching the doctrine of Christ and urging his listeners to “ask Christ to help you to become happy.” He said he hoped his blood would fall as “fruitful rain.” May his gentle words and brave witness nourish your prayer today.

MEMORIAL OF PAUL MIKI AND COMPANIONS, MARTYRS
TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 1:1-19; Mark 6:53-56 (329). “They laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak.”

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2023
How to help a good cause

Six individuals are in line to become the first African-American saint: Sister Thea Bowman, Julia Greeley, Mother Mary Lange, Mother Henriette Delille, Father Augustus Tolton, and Pierre Toussaint. The first three have the title “servant of God,” indicating their canonization cause has been launched. The latter three have the title “venerable,” meaning the pope recognizes their heroic virtue. Next would come beatification, allowing candidates to be called “blessed”; it includes the church’s confirmation that they are in heaven—evidenced by at least two miracles from their intercession (unless they’re martyred). Finally, comes canonization. Learn about these six and seek their intercession year-round.

TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 1:20-2:4a; Mark 7:1-13 (330). “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.”

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2023
Saintly guidance to help end modern-day slavery

This day marks the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking—also the feast of the first and only black woman saint in modern times: the Sudanese nun Josephine Bakhita. Kidnapped into slavery as a child by Arab traffickers in the late 19th century, she was converted to Islam before eventually being left in the care of Canossian Sisters in Italy. Her freedom soon came, and she lived out her later life as a Catholic and eventually a nun. Today, an estimated 50 million people live in modern-day slavery. Christians are among the greatest combatants of the trade, and Saint Josephine was named the patron of survivors when she was canonized in 2000. May her faith continue to inspire those working to end the scourge, and may we join their efforts.

MEMORIAL OF JOSEPHINE BAKHITA, RELIGIOUS
TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 2:4b-9, 15-17; Mark 7:14-23 (331). “When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”

Thursday, Feb 09, 2023
Seeing Adam’s rib with fresh eyes

Traditionally, today’s first reading has been used as a cudgel to keep women in divinely sanctioned inferiority. In the past century, scholars have looked differently at Genesis. Eve being created last doesn’t imply inferiority, they say; human creation came after the rest of creation and traditionally was seen as implying superiority (which is actually another idea now under question). Also, many say a “partner” for Adam would imply equal status. Scripture interpretation depends heavily on the culture and on who is doing the interpreting. May the Holy Spirit inspire each one of us to advance human dignity.

TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 2:18-25; Mark 7:24-30 (332). “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”

Friday, Feb 10, 2023
Togetherness has its virtue

Saint Scholastica (480-543) is the patron of Benedictine nuns and sisters. Along with her brother Saint Benedict of Nursia, she helped establish a rule for monastic living that emphasized prayer, work, and peace. Contemporary Benedictine women continue to follow this ancient set of precepts. The vision of monastic life, as expressed in the 2022 Centennial Prayer of the Benedictine Federation of Saint Scholastica is to “see Christ at the heart of all creation and at the center of our common life” and “share the peace of Christ, show the love of Christ, and make Christ known in our world.” In what ways does your own life within family and community give witness to the peace and love of Christ?

MEMORIAL OF SCHOLASTICA, RELIGIOUS
TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 3:1-8; Mark 7:31-37 (333). “[Jesus] has done all things well.”

Saturday, Feb 11, 2023
Our hands, God’s hands

Today is World Day of the Sick, an observation introduced by Pope John Paul II as a way for believers to serve those suffering from illnesses. “Because Your hands, which touch the suffering flesh of Christ,” said the sainted pope, “can be a sign of the merciful hands of the Father.” Today and every day we pray for and care for the sick in our lives. On this day last year Pope Francis stated, “The ministry of consolation is a task for every baptized person, mindful of the word of Jesus: ‘I was sick and you visited me.’”

TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 3:9-24; Mark 8:1-10 (334). “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.”

Sunday, Feb 12, 2023
Create a genuine love story

No one ever said relationships were easy. Commitments, whether in marriage, religious life, or elsewhere, take spiritual insight to discern, patience to maintain, time to mature, and a whole lot of love to keep the engine moving on the tracks. Today's celebration of World Marriage Day is meant to support the development of a culture of life and love within our most fundamental relationships. As Pope Francis declared in Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love): "The welfare of the family is decisive for the future of the world and that of the church." Take the journey to joy and love. Work to make each relationship life-giving.

SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
TODAY'S READINGS: Sirach 15:15-20; 1 Corinthians 2:6-10; Matthew 5:17-37 (76). “We speak a wisdom to those who are mature, not a wisdom of this age.”

Monday, Feb 13, 2023
Make a petition, not a deal

It can be tempting, especially when we’re desperate, to try to bargain with God: “If you do this one thing for me, I’ll quit a bad habit forever and never miss Mass again.” But that’s not how our relationship with God works. For starters, Jesus told us not to bargain, but to simply ask for what we need (Matthew 7:7-11). God already knows what we need better than we do but wants us to ask anyway, persistently even—because a willingness to be vulnerable and share intimacy are central to any healthy relationship. For that reason, petitionary prayer isn’t always easy. Open up with your longings and offer God your trust, rather than a deal.

TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 4:1-15, 25; Mark 8:11-13 (335). “Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2023
Speak the language of love

More than 1,000 years before Vatican II—with its directive to translate the Latin liturgy into the vernacular—two missionary siblings, Cyril and Methodius, got the blessing of their pope to do the same for the Slavic people. In doing so, they created the Cyrillic alphabet. And as Pope John Paul II noted, they impacted not only the “history of the church, but also the civil and the political history of a great part of the European continent. . . . Cyril and Methodius [are] not only the apostles of the Slavic peoples but also the fathers of their culture.” On this Valentine’s Day, how can you translate love into your vernacular?

MEMORIAL OF CYRIL, MONK, AND METHODIUS, BISHOP
TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10; Mark 8:14-21 (336).  “Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened?”

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2023
A pioneer priest who broke a color barrier

On this day in 1880, Augustus Tolton departed the United States on a holy mission: to enter a Catholic seminary as an African American. After several years of trying to become a priest stateside and experiencing rejection due to racism, Tolton’s friends and allies successfully arranged for his passage to study at the Urban College in Rome, where he was ordained as the world’s first openly African-American Catholic priest in 1886. He would return to his home state of Illinois, eventually settling in Chicago where he founded the city’s first black parish. He died of heat stroke in 1897 at the young age of 43 and has since been on the path to sainthood. In these times of continuing anti-black discrimination, may we look to his witness for hope and sustenance. Venerable Father Tolton, pray for us!

TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 8:6-13, 20-22; Mark 22-26 (337). “My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people. Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones.”

Thursday, Feb 16, 2023
Take the path of Saint Francis

Christian theology has often encouraged human domination over creation. Saint Francis of Assisi had another view, one that has become more prominent in the church as the climate crisis intensifies. Franciscan Sister Rose Dowling expresses one facet of it: “The Earth with which we are so intimate is our primary teacher about who God is and how God wants to relate with us. . . . I see a God who has set into being a creation that continues to grow, evolve, become more conscious, become more complex. I see that as a human I, like the rest of creation, have the potential to grow and become more . . .” How will you become more conscious of all of creation today?

TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 9:1-13; Mark 8:27-33 (338). “Peter said to him in reply, ‘You are the Christ.’ ”

Friday, Feb 17, 2023
To Mary, in times of sorrow

The Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order were 13th-century Florentine cloth merchants who banded together in prayer, solace, and community during politically tumultuous times. From the beginning, the Servites dedicated themselves to Mary, the Sorrowful Mother. Today their mission is to “gather in fraternal communion to be with those suffering and sorrowful.” The Servites developed the three most common devotions to Our Lady of Sorrows, namely the Scapular of the Seven Dolours of Mary, the Novena to Our Sorrowful Mother, and the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. In the closing prayer of the Rosary chaplet, we say, “Pray for us, O most sorrowful Virgin. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.” That is certainly a prayer to remember as we face each day's trials. 

MEMORIAL OF THE SEVEN HOLY FOUNDERS OF THE SERVITE ORDER
TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 11:1-9; Mark 8:34—9:1 (339). “Whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.”

Saturday, Feb 18, 2023
Good to be here

Were you ever so enamored of something that you just wanted it to last forever? That’s what Peter was experiencing on the Mount of Transfiguration. But Jesus and his inner circle had to move on. They had to come down the mountain. There was more that needed to be done, people who needed to be served. In his 1967 encyclical, Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples), Pope Paul VI wrote, “Genuine progress . . . consists in an economic order designed for the welfare of the human person, where the daily bread that each [one] receives reflects the glow of love and the helping hand of God.” Pray that we become enamored by justice and help transfigure the world in Jesus’ image!

TODAY'S READINGS: Hebrews 11:1-7; Mark 9:2-13 (340). "Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents."

Sunday, Feb 19, 2023
Kindness and care, from beginning to end

Sometimes you have to do things for yourself. Mathilda Beasley (1833-1903), of Creole and Native American parents, founded a Franciscan community of color in Savannah with little help from normal church channels. Her sisters cared for orphaned black children, continuing the work until things ran out: money, housing, and the health of Mother Beasley. Though the community was suppressed, Mother Beasley was the third founder of an order of black sisters in the United States, after Elizabeth Lange and Henriette Delille. God measures our efforts, not our success.

SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
TODAY'S READINGS: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 3:16-23; Matthew 5:38-48 (79). “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.”

Monday, Feb 20, 2023
Either part of the problem, or . . .

Imagine being a lifelong Catholic—yet being refused admittance to a Catholic school. Or being asked to move to the back of the church at Mass because of your race. Professor Thomas Wyatt Turner (1877-1978) experienced plenty of discrimination, which is why he helped found the NAACP in 1909 as well as the Federated Colored Catholics in 1924. The latter group pledged their services to the church "for whatever good they were able to effect in the solution of the problems facing the group in church and country." On this World Day of Social Justice, be part of the solution.

TODAY'S READINGS: Sirach 1:1-10; Mark 9:14-29 (341). "‘Why could we not drive the spirit out?’ [Jesus] said to them, ‘This kind can only come out through prayer.’ "

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2023
Climb to holiness

Dante Alighieri, writing The Divine Comedy, paid Peter Damian the great honor of placing him in one of the highest circles of Paradise. In fact, Peter is the first of two important monastic figures to greet Dante in “seventh heaven,” the other being Saint Benedict of Nursia. Both represent this heavenly level: spiritual contemplatives who’ve lived a life of temperance and prayer. Dante has Peter and Benedict climbing up and down a golden ladder, reminiscent of the “Ladder of Humility” (12 steps) described in the Benedictine Rule and the “Ladder of Divine Ascent” (30 steps) written by monastic Saint John Climacus. If you need to build a Lenten practice, step up to the task tomorrow.

MEMORIAL OF PETER DAMIAN, BISHOP, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
TODAY'S READINGS: Sirach 2:1-11; Mark 9:30-37 (342).  “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all."

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2023
Out of the ashes

Happy Ash Wednesday! Yes, it can be a cause for celebration. Best known as the first day of Lent, this day remains sacred to Catholic communities in the West as a day of solemnity following the Carnival season, capped off yesterday with Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”). Though most often associated with revelry and excess, the season just completed is also a holy one. Carnival is full of Catholic symbolism and festive acknowledgement of God and creation, in keeping with the church year and its marking of spiritual times and seasons. Now, as we enter a period of fasting and abstinence, let’s remember to continue seeking God’s goodness in the rich traditions of the faith. Don’t forget to stop by church for ashes today!

ASH WEDNESDAY; DAY OF FASTING AND ABSTINENCE
TODAY'S READINGS: Joel 2:12-18; 2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 (219). “For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”

Thursday, Feb 23, 2023
Emulate those who stood firm

Polycarp was a bishop, and his death the church’s first recorded martyrdom. He was born in 69, just a few years after Peter and Paul were executed, and Roman authorities burned him to death after what one account calls a “witty conversation” between Polycarp and Statius Quadratus, Roman proconsul. Polycarp became one of what would turn out to be a flood of Christians who have been put to death, and continue to be so, for not renouncing their faith. Sometimes “not renouncing” means publicly living Christian ethics against pressure; sometimes it means stating one’s belief in words. Strive to be a courageous witness for faith, as those who came before us have been.

MEMORIAL OF POLYCARP, BISHOP, MARTYR
TODAY'S READINGS: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Luke 9:22-25 (220). “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”

Friday, Feb 24, 2023
Fast approaching

The practice of fasting during Lent finds its genesis in our Lord's journey into the desert where he fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights in preparation to begin his public ministry (Matthew 4:1-2; Luke 4:1-3). We observe the 40 days of Lent in imitation of Christ's time in the desert. We walk into the desert with Christ and fast so as to have the strength to do good and avoid evil, with the help of God's grace. We strive to atone for our sins and purify our lives in preparation for the celebration of Christ's glorious rising from the tomb.

FRIDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY; DAY OF ABSTINENCE
TODAY'S READINGS: Isaiah 58:1-9a; Matthew 9:14-15 (221). “This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: . . . Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.”

Saturday, Feb 25, 2023
What’s on your bookshelf?

It is often said that Lent is a time to take spiritual inventory and do a “spring cleanup” as we renew our baptismal promises. The conjunction of Lent with Black History Month and Catholic Press Month affords us an unprecedented opportunity to take spiritual inventory of our bookshelves, too! What books do we have from the black Catholic community that can enrich us, expand our spiritual horizons, and even challenge us? This Lent, consider picking up Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience (2009) or Black Catholic Studies Reader: History and Theology (2021). Make one of these books or a similar one part of your Lenten renewal.

SATURDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY
TODAY'S READINGS: Isaiah 58:9b-14; Luke 5:27-32 (222). “Then the LORD will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land.”

Sunday, Feb 26, 2023
God’s messengers

Have you thought much about your guardian angel since you prayed at bedtime when you were a kid? If not, maybe it’s time to catch up with the one that’s been assigned to help you. The word angelos means “messenger” in Greek, and since angels “always behold the face” of God in heaven (Matthew 18:10), they’re well-positioned to intercede for you. Appreciate the watchful care that surrounds you and protects you from spiritual and perhaps physical dangers. Their constant attention indicates how precious you are to God and how active God wishes to be in your life.

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
TODAY'S READINGS: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11 (22). “He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you.”

Monday, Feb 27, 2023
A book for your nightstand, next to your Bible

Grigor Narekatsi, born near the turn of the first millennium, was an Armenian mystical and lyrical poet, monk, and theologian. He has the distinction of being venerated as a saint in the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic Churches and was declared a doctor of the church by Pope Francis in 2015. The prayer book of Gregory of Narek is a fixture in religious Armenian homes, second only to the Bible, and is considered a masterpiece of Christian spiritual literature. It has been translated into 30 languages, including English. Given the rave reviews, consider this writer-saint for your next read!

MEMORIAL OF GREGORY OF NAREK, ABBOT, DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
TODAY'S READINGS: Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18; Matthew 25:31-46 (224). “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2023
United in prayer

Pope Benedict XVI, may he rest in peace, wrote beautifully on prayer and the Our Father: “In praying our heart is opened. Not only do we enter into communion with God but actually with all the children of God, because we are one body. When we address the Father in our inner room in silence and in recollection we are never alone. Those who speak to God are not alone. We are within the great prayer of the Church, we are part of a great symphony that the Christian community in all the parts of the earth and in all epochs, raises to God.” Pray the Our Father slowly and consciously today, with everyone.

LENTEN WEEKDAY
TODAY'S READINGS: Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 6:7-15 (225). "This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.”

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2023
Get on board for justice

Today marks the 98th death anniversary of Homer Plessy, the man who attempted to end segregation with his legendary ride on a whites-only streetcar in New Orleans in 1892. His efforts were unsuccessful, and the following seven decades of U.S. jurisprudence included segregation as a bedrock feature. Plessy, however, is much less heralded for the fact that he was a man of faith, a black Catholic whose famous ride was organized by an interracial activist group known as the Comité des Citoyens (Citizens’ Committee). Their holy disobedience was one of the first Catholic-led efforts against the developing hierarchy of racism in the formerly French and Spanish regions of the Deep South. May the courage of Plessy and his allies be of use to us today as we continue the march toward justice.

LENTEN WEEKDAY
TODAY'S READINGS: Jonah 3:1-10; Luke 11:29-32 (226). “Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand.”

Thursday, Mar 02, 2023
Read it and reap

Welcome to Read Across America Day, established in 1998 by the National Education Association to encourage this most central, enjoyable, and enriching of activities. Popular among teachers, students, and librarians, today can also be a day for Catholics to explore and support organizations such as the Catholic Media Association, whose members inform, inspire, and educate readers, keeping them connected to their faith, and telling the story of the church. Check a list of Catholic newspapers and magazines to find one you can support with a subscription. You in turn will be supported in your faith.

LENTEN WEEKDAY
TODAY'S READINGS: Esther C:12, 14-16, 23-25; Matthew 7:7-12 (227). “Everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Friday, Mar 03, 2023
Store up treasure in heaven

Saint Katharine Drexel was born in Philadelphia in 1858 to a wealthy family. The Drexels had a reputation for generosity, reportedly opening their home several days a week to feed and care for people in need. They also made time every day to pray together. During a trip to Europe as a young woman, Katharine was able to have an audience with Pope Leo XIII. She asked the Holy Father to send missionaries to Wyoming. He answered, “Why don’t you go?” Not long after, Katharine stunned society by leaving behind her privileged life to dedicate herself to religious life. She worked to improve living conditions and educational opportunities for African Americans and Native Americans. She left a legacy far greater than her family fortune.

MEMORIAL OF KATHARINE DREXEL, RELIGIOUS FOUNDER
TODAY'S READINGS: Ezekiel 18:21-28; Matthew 5:20-26 (228). “Go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Saturday, Mar 04, 2023
Short but sweet sainthood

Lenten inspiration can come from anywhere—from scripture to Instagram, from saints to young people. While not a Bible figure or social media influencer, 15th-century Casimir of Poland happens to fit the categories of both saint and young person. Saint Casimir was a prince who was under intense pressure from his family and country to take a leading role in government and politics. But Casimir felt called to focus on prayer, study, and care for people in need. Although he had to contend with some very disappointed people, he stood firm in his decision to follow his calling. Disease cut short his life at the tender age of 25, but his example can inspire us to live out our calling and thus help fulfill his.

MEMORIAL OF CASIMIR, PRINCE
TODAY'S READINGS: Deuteronomy 26:16-19; Matthew 5:43-48 (229). “This day the LORD, your God, commands you to observe these statutes and decrees. . . . with all your heart and with all your soul.”

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