Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Who really wants to be called upon to change, let alone promote it in others? The prophets surely didn’t, and Jesus early on heard the reaction to his sermon among his own people. This weekend’s readings remind us that our faith is grounded in God’s word. That always involves the call to be and live differently. Just as God’s love sustained others, we are equipped with spiritual gifts, especially love, to respond to that same call.

The Feast of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, is celebrated each year on February 3. This year today is the day! The priests here at Saint Monica will give a “general blessing,” permitted in the Book of Blessings, to all who are in attendance at Mass Saturday evening and Sunday. If you would like to have an individual blessing, during the recessional hymn you may come up and we will give you an individual blessing. I’m sure you all know about the blessing of throats, with the story that Saint Blaise cured the throat of a young girl who had a fish bone stuck in the throat. Since that time there has been a devotion to him for “ailments of the throat and every other evil.” This is a powerful sacramental, so I hope you would avail yourself of the opportunity.

Next weekend we will celebrate the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Next weekend’s readings attest to the fact that God’s call list is littered with seemingly unworthy people. And God’s call has come — and still comes — in countless ways, including in lofty visions, among crowds of people, and in the midst of unabashedly simple work. The presence of the so-called “Hound of Heaven” is everywhere. Thinking “I am not worthy” didn’t work for others, and it won’t work for us. We may as well put our energy into watching and listening.

Catholic Schools Week: “A great time was had by all.” Thanks to ALL who helped put together this year’s Catholic Schools Week. Even though the weather didn’t cooperate well for the special celebration that was planned for Wednesday, it still happened! May God bless all of you for your support of our Parish School.

Principal Search: The Search Committee has been formed to seek our new principal. Mr. Joe Wientge is the chairman of the committee. Please watch the bulletin, and the school newsletter, for more information. Also now, more than ever, please join with us on Wednesday mornings at 7:45 as we pray the Rosary for the school: students, faculty, and staff. We also pray for the entire parish.

Scout Sunday. Today is officially “Boy Scout Sunday,” but we will be honoring all those Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts who have received their religious emblems this year during the 9:30 A.M. Mass today. Their names are listed elsewhere in the bulletin. Congratulations to these scouts, their parents, and leaders, in assisting them to grow in the faith of the Lord Jesus. A number of these scouts, while being recognized here today, will actually receive their awards from Bishop Mark Rivituso this afternoon at a service at the Cathedral at 2:30 P.M. All scouts and their families are invited to attend.

The annual Catholic Men for Christ Conference was Saturday. Although this is being written far in advance I know that we had a good number of our parishioners attend. I was scheduled for a couple of hours of celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is always a great opportunity for our men to grow in Christ.

The annual Catholic Women for Christ Conference is coming up on Saturday, March 9. Ladies: treat yourselves to a great day of prayerful reflection at the beginning of Lent. I know it will be great. Check out for information. It will be at the Blanche Touhill Center at UMSL. Price for attending is $45. If you want to go, but can’t afford it, please call me!

While we have a number of spiritual events coming up here, I would remind you that Father Jim Benz, Pastor of Saint Cletus Parish, in Saint Charles, invites our parishioners to A PARISH MISSION with Father Simeon Gallagher, OFM Cap. He will give a four-evening Mission at St. Cletus Parish, 2705 Zumbehl Road. St. Charles, from Monday, February 11, through Thursday, February 14. Each session will begin at 7:00 P.M. and end at 8:30 P.M. Father Simeon’s topic will be “A Spirituality for Relation- ships.” Please call St. Cletus 636.946.6327 for more information. All are welcome!

Upcoming is our 40 Hours Devotion, the weekend of the Presidents’ Day Holiday: February 17, 18, and 19. We will begin with Evening Prayer and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 7:00 P.M. on Sunday, February 17. Exposition will be all night, until prior to the 6:30 a.m. Mass. We will have the “normal” time between 6:30 and 8:15 Masses, then, following 8:15 Mass, around 8:45 A.M., we will have Exposition in the small chapel “Cry Room.” At 7:00 P.M. on Monday there will be a Holy Hour, with prayer and praise and an outreach to some of our younger parishioners who prefer that style of prayer. Following that there will be Exposition again all night, with the same schedule on Monday night, as we had on Sunday. All morning / early afternoon on Tuesday we will have Exposition again. We will close the 40 Hours with “Mid-Day Prayer” from the Divine Office and Benediction. Weekly Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will resume Wednesday, February 20, following the 8:15 A.M. Mass, until the evening when Deacon Jim Martin will repose the Blessed Sacrament at 9:00 P.M. We have sign up sheets for Forty Hours and a COMMITMENT to WEEKLY Adoration on Wednesdays available in the MAIN LOBBY of the Church. Please prayerfully consider spending some time with Jesus, not only during Forty Hours, but weekly. Thank you.

Our Pre-Lenten Parish Mission, with lay evangelist, HECTOR MOLINA, will be at 7:00 P.M., on the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday leading up to Lent: March 4, 5, and 6, just a month from now. I’ll have more on that next week. By coincidence Hector had a pilgrimage group in the Holy Land the same time as we did. We met up with him at the Jordan River, the Dead Sea, the Church of the Pater Noster (on the Mount of Olives), and his group stayed at the Notre Dame Center several of the same nights as we did. A number of our fellow parishioners got to meet him! It really IS a SMALL world! God’s blessings on us all.

Saint Blaise, pray for us.

Father Joe Weber