February 17

Ash Wednesday

With Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstinence, the time of Lent begins. See also: The Origins of Ash Wednesday, by Plinio Correa de Oliveria.

Mass Readings

Featured Saints

The Blessed Virgin clothes the Seven Servite Founders with the scapular – Church of Our Lady of Sorrows Cordoba (Spain)

St. Bonosus, Bishop (†c. 373). As Bishop of Trier, Germany, together with St. Hilary of Poitiers, he strove to maintain the integrity of the Faith in Gaul.

St. Flavian, Bishop (†449). Elected to the patriarchal See of Constantinople, he ended the controversy provoked by Nestorianism and, some years later, condemned the Monophysite heresy. He suffered severe persecution from Emperor Theodosius II.

St. Fintan, abbot (†c. 440). Founded the monastery of Cluain-Ednech in Ireland, and stood out for his austerity.

St.­ Evermodbishop (†1178). Premonstratensian monk, disciple of St. Norbert, sent to Germany as a missionary. Elected Bishop of Ratzeburg, he evangelized the Wends, established on the banks of the Vistula.

St. Mesrob, monk (†c. 440). Evangelizer of the Armenians and disciple of St. Nerses, he created an alphabet to teach SacredScripture; he translated the Old and New Testament, and composed hymns and songs in the Armenian language.

Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order. Seven laymen from Florence withdrew to Mount Senario (1233), dedicating themselves to a contemplative life. The later founded the Order of the Servants of Mary.

St. Peter Yu Chŏng-nyul, martyr (†1866). Father of a family and catechist who was flogged to death in Pyongyang, during anti-Catholic persecution in Korea.

Blessed Luke Belludi, priest (†1286). From an noble Italian family and possessing great culture, he became a franciscan at the age of 25. He was a faithful disciple and companion of St. Anthony of Padua.

Blessed Anthony Leszczewicz, priest and martyr (†1943). Religious from the Congregation of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception; killed for the Faith in Rzeszów, Poland.


Mass Readings

First Reading – Jl 2:12-18

Even now, says the LORD, return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning. Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is He, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment. Perhaps He will again relent and leave behind him a blessing, offerings and libations for the LORD, your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion! proclaim a fast, call an assembly. Gather the people, notify the congregation. Assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom quit his room and the bride her chamber. Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep, and say, “Spare, O LORD, your people, and make not your heritage a reproach, with the nations ruling over them! Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his people.

Responsorial Psalm – Ps 3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17 (R.cf. 3a)

R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me. R.

For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.” R.

A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me. R.

Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. R.

Second Reading – 2 Cor 5:20 — 6:2

Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 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. Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Gospel – Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

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