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Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto

Francisco, 11, and Jacinta, 10, are the youngest non-martyrs to be canonized in the history of the Church. The brother and sister, who tended to their families’ sheep with their cousin Lucia Santo in the fields of Fatima, Portugal, witnessed the apparitions of Mary, now commonly known as Our Lady of Fatima.During the first apparition, which took place May 13, 1917, Our Lady asked the three children to say the Rosary and to make sacrifices, offering them for the conversion of sinners. The children did, praying often, giving their lunch to beggars and going without food themselves. They offered up their daily crosses and even refrained from drinking water on hot days.In October 1918, Francisco and Jacinta became seriously ill with the Spanish flu. Our Lady appeared to them and said she would to take them to heaven soon.Bed-ridden, Francisco requested his first Communion. The following day, Francisco died, April 14, 1919. Jacinta suffered a long illness as well. She was eventually transferred to a Lisbon hospital and operated for an abscess in her chest, but her health did not improve. She died Feb. 20, 1920.Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta May 13, 2000, on the 83rd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima.Pope Francis on May 13, 2017 officially declared Francisco and Jacinta Marto saints of the Catholic Church in front of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims at Fatima, Portugal – teaching us that even young children can become saints.

Feb. 20 Tuesday of the First Week of Lent; Sts. Francisco & Jacinta Marto (Portugal), Weekday

Pope Francis on May 13, 2017, officially declared Francisco and Jacinta Marto saints of the Catholic Church in front of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims at Fatima, Portugal � teaching us that even young children can become saints. The brother and sister, Francisco and Jacinta, who tended to their families' sheep with their cousin Lucia Santo in the fields of Fatima, witnessed the apparitions of Mary, now commonly known as Our Lady of Fatima.

Feb. 19 Monday of the First Week of Lent, Weekday

Historically today is the feast of St. Conrad of Piacenza, a friar and hermit celebrated for piety and miraculous cures at Noto in Sicily and St. Gabinus, brother of Pope St. Caius, father of St. Susanna, who was ordained in his old age.

Feb. 18 First Sunday of Lent , Sunday

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, � Man shall not live by bread alone.'" And the devil took him up. and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours." And Jesus answered him, "It is written, � You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.' "

Feb. 17 Optional Memorial of Seven Founders of the Order of Servites, Opt. Mem.

Today the liturgy honors seven noble Florentines who in the thirteenth century, at a time when Florence and all Italy was torn by civil strife, banded together to found, not far from Florence on Monte Senario, the Order of Servites of the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially dedicated to penance and meditation on the sorrows of our Lady in the passion of our Savior. This order was approved by the Holy See in 1304. One of the seven, Alexis Falconieri, died on this date in 1310. According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite this feast is celebrated on February 12.

Feb. 16 Friday After Ash Wednesday, Weekday

Historically today is the feast of St. Juliana, a Christian virgin of Cumae, Italy, martyred for the faith when she refused to marry a Roman prefect. She suffered terrible ordeals and was finally beheaded. One tradition reports that Juliana actually suffered martyrdom at Nicomedia and that her relics were transferred to Cumae.

Feb. 15 Thursday After Ash Wednesday; St. Claude de la Colombiere, priest (some places), Weekday

The Jesuit Priest St. Claude de la Colombière was the first to believe in the mystical revelations of the Sacred Heart given to St. Margaret Mary in Paray le Monial Convent, France. Thanks to his support, St. Margaret Mary's superior also believed, and propagation of the devotion to the Sacred heart was started.

Feb. 14 Ash Wednesday, Weekday

The time has now come in the Church year for the solemn observance of the great central act of history, the redemption of the human race by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the Roman Rite, the beginning of the forty days of penance is marked with the austere symbol of ashes which is used in today's liturgy. The use of ashes is a survival from an ancient rite according to which converted sinners submitted themselves to canonical penance. The Alleluia and the Gloria are suppressed until Easter.

Feb. 13 Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time; Fat Tuesday, Weekday

Today is the day before Ash Wednesday, called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. Traditionally, it is the last day for Christians to indulge before the sober weeks of fasting that come with Lent. Formally known as Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras has long been a time of extravagant fun for European Christians. In many southern states of the USA Mardi Gras is a traditional holiday. The most famous celebration takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana. It has been celebrated there on a grand scale, with masked balls and colorful parades, since French settlers arrived in the early 1700s.

Feb. 12 Monday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time, Weekday

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of Seven Founders of the Servite Order. Their feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on February 17th. Historically today is the feast of St. Eulalia the most celebrated virgin martyr of Spain. She was a native of Merida, thirteen years of age, and was burnt at the stake in her native city under Diocletian.