Friday, March 3, 2017


Ps 30 (29): 11

The Lord heard and had mercy on me;
the Lord became my helper.


Show gracious favor, O Lord, we pray,
to the works of penance we have begun,
that we may have strength to accomplish with sincerity
the bodily observances we undertake.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Friday after Ash Wednesday

IS 58:1-9A

Thus says the Lord GOD:

Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
"Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?"

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Responsorial Psalm
PS 51:3-4, 5-6AB, 18-19

R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God,
you will not spurn.

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. A heart contrite and humbled, O God,
you will not spurn.

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 heart contrite and humbled, O God,
you will not spurn.

For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God,
you will not spurn.

Verse Before the Gospel
AM 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the Lord will be with you.

MT 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
"Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?"

Jesus answered them,

"Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast."

March 3

Saint Katharine Drexel (1858 - 1955)

St. Katharine Drexel is the second American-born saint to be canonized by the Catholic Church. This amazing woman was an heiress to a large bequest who became a religious sister and a brilliant educator.

Katherine was born in Philadelphia on November 26, 1858, the second child of a prominent and wealthy banker, Francis Anthony Drexel and his wife, Hannah Langstroth. He mother passed away just five weeks after Katharine was born. Her father remarried to Emma Bouvier in 1860 and together they had another daughter in 1863, Louisa Drexel.

The girls received a wonderful education from private tutors and traveled throughout the United States and Europe. The Drexels were financially and spiritually well endowed. They were devout in the practice of their faith, setting an excellent example of true Christian living for their three daughters. They not only prayed but practiced what the Church calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Katharine grew up seeing her father pray for 30 minutes each evening. And every week, her stepmother opened their doors to house and care for the poor. The couple distributed food, clothing and provided rent assistance to those in need. The Drexels would seek out and visit women who were too afraid or too proud to approach the home in order to care for their needs in Christian charity.

Though Katharine made her social debut in 1879, she never let her family's money adversely affect the way she lived her life and faith. She was an example of a Christian with a proper understanding that the goods of this earth are given for the common good.

After watching her stepmother suffer with terminal cancer for three straight years, Katharine also learned that no amount of money could shelter them from pain or suffering. From this moment, Katharine's life took a turn. She became imbued with a passionate love for God and neighbor, and she took an avid interest in the material and spiritual well-being of black and native Americans.

In 1884, while her family was visiting the Western states, Katharine saw first-hand the troubling and poor situation of the Native Americans. She desperately wanted to help them.

Katharine spent much of her time with Father James O' Connor, a Philadelphia priest. 
He provided her with wonderful spiritual direction.

When her father passed away a year later, he donated part of his $15.5 million estate to a few charities and then left the remainder to be equally split amongst his three daughters.

He set up his will in a way to protect his daughters from men who were only seeking their money. If his daughters should die, the money was then to go on to his would-be grandchildren. If there were no grandchildren, the Drexel estate would be distributed to several different religious orders and charities, including the Society of Jesus, the Religious of the Sacred Heart, 
a Lutheran hospital and the Christian Brothers.

As one of their first acts following their father's death, Katharine and her sisters contributed money to assist the St. Francis Mission of South Dakota's Rosebud Reservation.

Katherine soon concluded that more was needed to help the Native Americans and the lacking ingredient was people.

In 1887, while touring Europe, the Drexel sisters were given a private audience with Pope Leo XIII. They were seeking missionaries to help with the Indian missions they were financing. 
The Pope looked to Katharine and suggested she, herself, become a missionary.

After speaking with Father O' Connor, Katharine decided she would give herself and her inheritance to God through service to both Native Americans and African Americans. She wrote, "The feast of St. Joseph brought me the grace to give the remainder of my life to the Indians and the Colored."

Katharine began her six-month postulancy at the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Pittsburgh in 1889.

On February 12, 1891, Katharine made her first vows as a religious and dedicated herself to working for the American Indians and African-Americans in the Western United States.

Taking the name Mother Katharine, she established a religious congregation called the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored, whose members would work for the betterment of those they were called to serve.

From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and her fortune to this work. In 1894, Mother Katharine took part in opening the first mission boarding school called St. Catherine's Indian School, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other schools quickly followed - for Native Americans west of the Mississippi River, and for the blacks in the southern part of the United States.

In 1897, Katharine asked the friars of St. John the Baptist Province of the Order of Friars Minor to help staff a mission for the Navajos in Arizona and New Mexico, 
and she would help finance their work with the Pueblo Native Americans.

In 1910, Katharine also financed the printing of 500 copies of A Navaho-English Catechism of Christian Doctrine for the Use of Navaho Children.

In 1915, Katherine founded Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic University in the United States for African-Americans.

By the time of her death, she had more than 500 Sisters teaching in 63 schools throughout the country and she established 50 missions for Native Americans in 16 different states.

Katharine suffered a heart attack at 77-years-old and was forced to retire. She spent the remainder of her life in quiet and intense prayer. She recorded her prates and aspirations in small notebooks.

Mother Katharine died on March 3, 1955 at the age of 96. She is buried at her order's motherhouse. Neither of Katharine's sisters had any children, so after her death, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament lost the Drexel fortune that supported their ministries. However, the order continues to pursue Katharine's mission with the African-Americans and Native Americans in 21 states and in Haiti.

Katharine was remembered for her love of the Eucharist and a desire for unity of all peoples. She was courageous and took the initiative to address social inequality within minorities. She believed all should have access to a quality education and her selfless service, including the donation of her inheritance, helped many reach that goal.

St. Katharine was beatified on November 20, 1988 and canonized on 
October 1, 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

Relics of St. Katharine can be found at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and in the Day Chapel of Saint Katharine Drexel Parish in Sugar Grove, Illinois.

Katharine is the patron saint of racial justice and philanthropists. 

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts forever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.


Lord, who throughout these forty days
for us didst fast and pray,
teach us with thee to mourn our sins,
and close by thee to stay.
As thou with Satan didst contend
and didst the victory win,
O give us strength in thee to fight,
in thee to conquer sin.
As thou didst hunger bear, and thirst,
so teach us, gracious Lord,
to die to self, and chiefly live
by thy most holy word.
And through these days of penitence,
and through thy Passiontide,
yea, evermore in life and death,
Jesus, with us abide.
Abide with us, that so, this life
of suffering overpast,
an Easter of unending joy
we may attain at last.

Psalm 77 (78)
The history of salvation:
the Lord's goodness, his people's infidelity

Our fathers have told us of the might of the Lord
and the marvellous deeds he has done.

Listen, my people, to my teaching;
open your ears to the words of my mouth.
I shall open my mouth in explanation,
I shall tell of the secrets of the past.
All that we have heard and know –
all that our fathers told us –
we shall not hide it from their descendants,
but will tell to a new generation
the praise of the Lord, and his power,
and the wonders that he worked.
He set up a covenant with Jacob,
he gave a law to Israel;
he commanded our ancestors to pass it on to their children,
so that the next generation would know it,
the children yet to be born.
They shall rise up and tell the story to their children,
so that they put their trust in God,
so that they do not forget the works of God,
so that they keep his commandments;
so that they do not become like their fathers,
rebellious and troublesome,
a generation of fickle hearts,
of souls unfaithful to God.
The sons of Ephraim, the bowmen,
fled when it came to battle;
they did not keep their covenant with God,
they refused to follow his law.
They forgot his deeds
and the wonders he had shown them.
In front of their ancestors he had worked his wonders,
in the land of Egypt, in the plains of Tanis.
He divided the sea and led them across,
he held back the waters as if in a bag.
He led them in a cloud by day;
and through the night, in the light of fire.
He split the rock in the desert
and gave them water as if from bottomless depths.
He brought forth streams from the rock
and made the waters flow down in rivers.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Our fathers have told us of the might of the Lord
and the marvellous deeds he has done.

Psalm 77 (78)

The sons of Israel ate manna and drank spiritual drink
from the rock which followed them.

Still they insisted on sinning against him,
they stirred up the wrath of the Most High in the desert.
They put God to the test in their hearts,
asking for food, their desire.
They spoke out against God, saying
“Can God lay a table in the wilderness?”
He struck the rock, and the waters poured out,
and the streams were full to overflowing;
“But can he give us bread?
Can he give meat to his people?”
The Lord heard all this, and he flared up in anger.
Fire blazed against Jacob,
his wrath rose up against Israel.
All this, because they had no faith in God,
they had no trust in his saving power.
He commanded the clouds nevertheless,
and opened the doors of the heavens.
Manna rained down for them to eat:
he gave them the bread of heaven.
Men ate the food of angels;
he gave them provisions in abundance.
In heaven he stirred up the east wind,
he brought the south wind, by his power:
he rained meat on them as if it were dust,
winged birds, like the sands of the sea,
to fall in the middle of their camp,
all around their tents.
They ate and were full to bursting,
and so he gave them their desire.
In the middle of their enjoyment,
when the food was still in their mouths,
the wrath of God rose up against them,
and slew the healthiest among them,
and laid low the flower of Israel.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The sons of Israel ate manna and drank spiritual drink
from the rock which followed them.

Psalm 77 (78)

They remembered that God was their helper and their redeemer.

All this – and still they sinned,
still they had no faith in his wonders.
He made their days vanish in a breath,
their years in a headlong rush.
Whenever he was killing them, they sought him,
repented and came back to him at dawn:
they remembered that God is their helper,
that God, the Most High, is their saviour;
but their speech to him was only flattery:
they lied to him with their tongues,
their hearts were dishonest towards him,
they did not keep his covenant.
But the Lord is merciful:
he forgives sin, he does not destroy.
Always he turned aside his anger,
held back from unleashing all his wrath.
He remembered that they were flesh –
a breath, that goes and does not return.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

They remembered that God was their helper and their redeemer.

Turn back to the Lord your God,
– because he is tenderness and compassion.

First Reading
Exodus 2:1-22

There was a man of the tribe of Levi who had taken a woman of Levi as his wife. She conceived and gave birth to a son and, seeing what a fine child he was, she kept him hidden for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him; coating it with bitumen and pitch, 
she put the child inside and laid it among the reeds at the river’s edge.
His sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him.

Now Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe in the river, and the girls attending her were walking along by the riverside. Among the reeds she noticed the basket, and she sent her maid to fetch it. She opened it and looked, and saw a baby boy, crying; and she was sorry for him. ‘This is a child of one of the Hebrews’ she said. Then the child’s sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and find you a nurse among the Hebrew women to suckle the child for you?’ ‘Yes, go,’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her; and the girl went off to find the baby’s own mother. To her the daughter of Pharaoh said, ‘Take this child away and suckle it for me. I will see you are paid.’ So the woman took the child and suckled it. 
When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter who treated him like a son;
she named him Moses because, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’

Moses, a man by now, set out at this time to visit his countrymen, and he saw what a hard life they were having; and he saw an Egyptian strike a Hebrew, one of his countrymen. Looking round he could see no one in sight, so he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. On the following day he came back, and there were two Hebrews, fighting. He said to the man who was in the wrong, ‘What do you mean by hitting your fellow countryman?’ ‘And who appointed you’ the man retorted, ‘to be prince over us, and judge? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Moses was frightened. ‘Clearly that business has come to light’ he thought. When Pharaoh heard of the matter he would have killed Moses,
but Moses fled from Pharaoh and made for the land of Midian. And he sat down beside a well.

Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s sheep. Shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses came to their defence and watered their sheep for them. When they returned to their father Reuel, he said to them, ‘You are back early today!’ ‘An Egyptian protected us from the shepherds;’ they said ‘yes, and he drew water for us and watered the flock.’ ‘And where is he?’ he asked his daughters. ‘Why did you leave the man there? Ask him to eat with us.’ So Moses settled with this man, who gave him his daughter Zipporah in marriage. She gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom because, he said, ‘I am a stranger in a foreign land.’


It was by faith that Moses,
when he grew to manhood,
refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter
and chose to be ill-treated in company with God’s people
rather than to enjoy for a time the pleasures of sin,
because he had his eyes fixed on God’s reward.

He reckoned that to suffer scorn for the Messiah was worth far more than all the treasures of Egypt;
it was by faith that he left Egypt,
because he had his eyes fixed on God’s reward.

Second Reading
A homily of Pseudo-Chrysostom

Prayer is the light of the soul

The highest good is prayer and conversation with God, because it means that we are in God’s company and in union with him. When light enters our bodily eyes our eyesight is sharpened; when a soul is intent on God, God’s inextinguishable light shines into it and makes it bright and clear. I am talking, of course, of prayer that comes from the heart and not from routine: 
not the prayer that is assigned to particular days or particular moments in time,
but the prayer that happens continuously by day and by night.

Indeed the soul should not only turn to God at times of explicit prayer. Whatever we are engaged in, whether it is care for the poor, or some other duty, or some act of generosity, we should remember God and long for God. The love of God will be as salt is to food, making our actions into a perfect dish to set before the Lord of all things. Then it is right that we should receive the fruits of our labors,
overflowing onto us through all eternity,
if we have been offering them to him throughout our lives.

Prayer is the light of the soul, true knowledge of God, a mediator between God and men. Prayer lifts the soul into the heavens where it hugs God in an indescribable embrace.
The soul seeks the milk of God like a baby crying for the breast.
It fulfils its own vows and receives in exchange gifts better than anything that can be seen or imagined.

Prayer is a go-between linking us to God. It gives joy to the soul and calms its emotions. I warn you, though: do not imagine that prayer is simply words. Prayer is the desire for God, an indescribable devotion, not given by man but brought about by God’s grace. As St Paul says:
For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly,
the Spirit himself intercedes on our behalf in a way that could never be put into words.

If God gives to someone the gift of such prayer, 
it is a gift of imperishable riches, a heavenly food that satisfies the spirit. 
Whoever tastes that food catches fire and his soul burns for ever with desire for the Lord.

To begin on this path, start by adorning your house with modesty and humility. Make it shine brightly with the light of justice. Decorate it with the gold leaf of good works, with the jewels of faithfulness and greatness of heart. Finally, to make the house perfect, raise a gable above it all, a gable of prayer. Thus you will have prepared a pure and sparkling house for the Lord. Receive the Lord into this royal and splendid dwelling — in other words: receive, by his grace, his image into the temple of your soul.


Will you still be forgetful of us,
through the long years leave us forsaken?
Bring us back, Lord, and let us find our home.

Lord, save us, or we perish.
Bring us back, Lord, and let us find our home.

Let us pray.

Give us the grace, Lord,
to continue the works of penitence we have begun;
so that the Lenten observance we have taken upon ourselves
may be accomplished in sincerity of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.