Thursday of the First Week of Lent
Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio, religious (†1600). Born in Spain, emigrated to Mexico, where he accumulated considerable wealth due to his great entrepreneurial capacity. He abandoned everything to enter the Order of Friars Minor, in which died at almost a hundred years of age.
St. Nestor of Magydos, bishop and martyr (†c. 250). For professing faith in Christ crucified, he was condemned to death by crucifixion by the governor of Pamphylia, in Perge, present-day Turkey.
St. Gerland, bishop (†1100). He reorganized the Church in Sicily after obtaining freedom from Saracen dominion.
St. Lawrence Pe-Man, martyr (+1856). Baptized by St. Auguste Chapdelaine, and became his assist ant as a missionary in China. He was sentenced to capital punishment for remaining steadfast in the Faith.
St. Caesarius, physician (†369). Although he was the son of fervent Christians and brother of St. Gregory Nazianzen, he remained a pagan for most of his life. He was the doctor of various emperors in Constantinople. After miraculously escaping an earthquake, he requested baptism and did penance until the end of his life.
St. Walburga, abbess (†779). At the request of her brothers St. Willibald and St. Winibald, as well as St. Boniface, she left England to govern the Monastery of Heidenheim, Germany.
Bessed Ciriaco Maria Sancha y Hervás, bishop (†1909). Bishop of Toledo and Valencia, Patriarch of the West Indies and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Cardinal Sancha inToledo, Spain.
Blessed Dominic Lentini, priest (†1828). Priest from Lauria, Italy, whose diverse and fruitful ministry was supported by humility, prayer and penance. He transformed his house into a model Catholic school.
Blessed Maria Adeodata Pisani, virgin (†1855). She was abbess in St. Peter’s Benedictine Monastery, on the Island of Malta. She strove to establish perfect observance of the Rule and to lead the nuns on the path of perfection.
Blessed Maria Ludovica De Angelis, virgin (†1962). Italian by birth, she entered the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy and dedicated herself to the care and formation of children and the sick in a hospital in La Plata, Argentina.
First Reading – Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the LORD. She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids, from morning until evening, and said: “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are You. Help me, who am alone and have no help but You, for I am taking my life in my hand. As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers that You, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to You. Now help me, who am alone and have no one but You, O LORD, my God.
“And now, come to help me, an orphan. Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and those who are in league with him may perish. Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness.”
Responsorial Psalm – Ps 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 7c-8 (R. 3a)
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, You answered me.
I will give thanks to You, O LORD, with all my heart,
for You have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name. R.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
for You have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, You answered me;
You built up strength within me. R.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what He has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands. R.
Gospel – Mt 7:7-12
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the law and the prophets.”