Today is the first day of February, such a fun month full of celebrations - especially of love! Here are three Catholic feast days the Church celebrates this month along with ideas and resources to help you and your family celebrate in your own home!
Feb. 2 | Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord (Candlemas)
- This feast day marks 40 days after the birth of Jesus, on which Jesus was presented at the Temple and Mary was presented for purification after birth, according to Jewish custom. It is also known as Candlemas because of the blessing and procession of candles in the liturgy.
- Attend Mass if you can, bringing candles to have blessed, which then can be lighted on birthdays, baptismal anniversaries, First Holy Communion, and in sickness.
- During the day, make a candle craft with your children using candle stickers or Candlemas coloring pages. If you're feeling extra crafty, Catholic Inspired has a list of candle crafts that look so fun!
- Celebrate by lighting candles during dinner, make crepes (traditional Candlemas meal), & praying the Canticle of Simeon.
- In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, this feast marks the official end of the Christmas season - so finish putting away any Christmas decorations you might still have out.
Feb. 11 | Our Lady of Lourdes
- Today's Marian feast day honors the apparitions of Our Lady to a young girl named Bernadette in a cave near Lourdes, France. Over 60 miraculous cures have been attributed to Our Lady of Lourdes and it is in this apparition that Our Lady identified herself as "The Immaculate Conception".
- If you are unfamiliar with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, take a few moments today to learn about it and then spend a little time in talking with your children about it. I love this article from Word on Fire and this one from Catholic Culture.
- Spend the afternoon or evening watching the film - The Song of Bernadette (available with Amazon prime so it should arrive in time if you order it this week!)
- To celebrate with food (our favorite way), eat anything even seemingly French - french fries, french toast, or go all out with an authentic French dinner! You could also serve a meal or dessert made up of foods that are entirely white to celebrate Mary's purity.
- Don't forget to ask for Our Lady's intercession in a special way tonight! We like this prayer.
Also check out: Shower of Roses: Celebrating Our Lady of Lourdes
Feb. 14 | Saint Valentine
Today's feast is one of the biggest celebrations on the year - for Christians and non-Christians alike! This feast celebrates love, marriage, and sacrifice - though it isn't all about chocolates and roses. Learn a little bit about him here and be sure to explain it to your children at some point during the day. Like Christmas, it can be hard not to get caught up in all of the candy and gifts - so try to make your celebration as Catholic as you can!
Saint Valentine is the patron saint of love, young people, engaged couples, and happy marriages. If you're married, try to celebrate your marriage in a special way today! Also be mindful of other engaged or married couples and try to use this feast as an opportunity to encourage them in their vocation.
Going along with Valentine's day festivities, make and deliver cards for your family and close friends! Kendra from Catholic All Year created the sweetest free printable Valentine's cards - you can find & print them here. I also came across these amazing Marian Valentines - you have to see them, they're so cool - and for the kids, Saints Valentines!
More Liturgical Living in February
Feeling ambitious? There are TEN other feast days this month! You can view them all on our free Liturgy of Home Google calendar - available to print, import to iCal or your own Google calendar here.
February is the month dedicated to the Holy Family.
This whole month is spent in Ordinary Time (liturgical color is green), but Lent begins on March 1st (Ash Wednesday)!
This month, Pope Francis asks us to pray:
"That we may take good care of creation–a gift freely given–cultivating and protecting it for future generations." and
"That opportunities may increase for dialogue and encounter between the Christian faith and the peoples of Asia."
Inspiration from Around the Internet
LITURGICAL LIVING DISCLAIMER
When you're just starting out, pick one or two feast days per month to celebrate. Once you get the hang of that, add more in one at a time. The liturgical year is rich with tradition and that means it can feel overwhelming at first, but keep in mind that this is meant to be a joy and not a burden. You will not win mom-of-the-year by stressing yourself and your kids out by trying to elaborately celebrate a feast day every single day. And speaking of being elaborate - you don't have to be. If you find a lot of joy in being crafty or making themed dinners, go for it. But it's not a requirement. Saying a special prayer over dinner or mentioning the day's feast once or twice throughout the day is wonderful and can have a lasting impression on your kids. Or if you can do it, go to Mass! Mass is always a good idea. ;)
I'd love to hear how you and your family celebrate during February!
It's such a fun month with so many opportunities to learn and grow in our faith!