Hello and happy feast of St. Josephine Bakita! Since February is Black History Month (more on this in a moment), it seems fitting to learn more about her today! Check out this piece from Word on Fire that illustrates that holiness (like hers) can be very simple!

In other news, we have been hit by the infamous influenza bug! Both families (Mercers and Moes) have had at least one member of the family get sick and we can report that it’s not too pleasant. If you are dealing with illness this winter as well- please be assured of our prayers for you and your family. Please pray for us, especially the kids and the littlest Moe who is due to arrive in less than two weeks!

We have a little bit of a mixed bag for your perusal today. We pray that each and every one of you will find something helpful, inspiring, or enlightening somewhere in this email!

So, without further ado, let’s get into this!

National Marriage Week
Did you know that the Church has set aside a week each year from February 7-14 to celebrate marriage? For more information on National Marriage Week, head over to this website sponsored by the USCCB. Incidentally, February is also the month dedicated to the Holy Family. We found a neat little resource about restoring this tradition here. Check it out!

Black History Month
Also, February is Black History Month, as we mentioned above. This article from Aleteia highlights 6 Saints to celebrate and learn more about during this month!

For the Moms Out There
Motherhood (and parenthood in general) is one of the toughest jobs in the world. All at once, it feels like everything we do is ineffective and yet EVERYTHING is at stake. It is a job filled with joy and pure delight, but it also comes with guilt and regret and insecurity. So, for all of those out there scrubbing toilets, wiping noses, and zipping up jackets for the 548th time, this article is for you! We related to it completely and we’d be lying if we said it didn’t make us tear up just a little.

Celebrating Consecrated Life
This past February 2nd, the Church celebrated World Day of Consecrated Life, a celebration inaugurated by St. Pope John Paul II in 1997. Check out this article and slideshow that shows the beauty and joy of those who have given their everything to Jesus. Their smiles are contagious!
Marian Minute
This coming Tuesday is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes! Many of you probably know the story of Our Lady appearing to a young girl named Bernadette Soubirous. But in case you’re not familiar or would like a refresher, here is a link telling of the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes. When asked to identify herself by St Bernadette, the lady simply said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

We found this article which discusses the devotion of St. Maximilian Kolbe to Our Lady under the title of the “Immaculate Conception.” as well as the message of Our Lady of Lourdes.

February 11 is also the 28th World Day of the Sick, instituted by Pope St. John Paul II in 1992. Millions of pilgrims visit this beautiful shrine every year to ask Our Lady’s intercession for a healing of a physical or spiritual ailment.

Saint Spotlight
There are a lot of feast days coming up this week- we have St. Scholastica (St. Benedict’s sister) on the 10th and then at the end of the week we have Sts. Cyril, Methodius, and St. Valentine on the 14th! While we found lots of resources for all of them, this one from The National Catholic Register called 3 Things You Might Not Know About St. Valentine caught our eyes and we wanted to share it!

A Little Gift From the Heart
We like the blog, Prayer, Wine, Chocolate and found a nice little list of ideas if you were thinking about getting your loved one something small for St. Valentine’s Day. While certainly not necessary, an unexpected gift can mean so much to both the giver and the receiver!

Sunday Readings
This Sunday marks the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time. We are reminded that our Faith is not to be hidden under a basket. You can find the readings here and Scott Hahn’s reflection can be located here!

Nifty News
There is a community of consecrated religious, laymen and laywomen in Oklahoma and Texas whose mission is to live out and preach the Gospel of Life by caring for the elderly. This order, Gospel of Life Disciples and Dwellings (GOLD), was founded by Sister Maria of the Trinity of the Little Sisters of the Poor and they are doing amazing things to help people in the last stages of life, to live out the remainder of their lives with love and dignity. To learn more about GOLD and their ministry to the elderly, follow this link.

Matt Birk, retired NFL player and Super Bowl champion, is the father of eight who made headlines in 2013 when he declined to join his team when they were invited to the White House by President Obama. To read more about this man and his work to encourage young people to embrace life, check out this article from Life News.

Kids’ Corner
There are a lot of fun and creative things to do with the kids to celebrate both Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Valentine’s Day this week at Catholic Icing.

Marian Center Update
Just a reminder that the Marian Center has reduced hours during the month of February. We are open only on Saturdays from 10-4, but we’d love to open it up for you by appointment. If you’d like to stop by the Center, just call us at 231-347-6279 to set up a day and time!

To Christ Through Mary,

Katie Moe and Lori Mercer

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