Can any other month of the year be crammed with more celebrations, commemorations or dedications than February? From my personal point of view, I would have to respond with a resounding, “No!” That’s because, for me, this is a month that includes three “you-better-not-forget” days, namely: my wedding anniversary, my daughter’s birthday and, of course, Valentine’s Day. From a national perspective, it is also Black History Month, which begins fittingly with National Freedom Day and ushers us through the celebrations of President Lincoln’s birthday and that of our founding President, George Washington. They now share the Presidents’ Day holiday together. Internationally, this month also begins the Lunar New Year, a two-week celebration for Asians everywhere—the Year of the Tiger.
Aside from the usual listing of saints’ days, perusal of February on a Catholic calendar reveals a number of days of lesser-known dedications, some designated by United Nations’ resolutions and others by the Vatican. In either case, they are worth consideration by all members of the Vincentian Family as they relate in various ways to our mission of service. February 2nd is World Day for the Consecrated Life where we pay tribute to women and men religious who dedicate their lives to the service of God’s people–wonderful examples for all of us. The 8th marks the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking. The 11th is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and has also been selected by the U.N. as World Day of the Sick, a powerful double reminder of our call to help heal those suffering from any disease, especially the scourge of our time, Covid-19. World Marriage Day, delightfully positioned right before Valentine’s Day, honors husband and wife as the foundation of the family, the basic unit of society. It salutes the beauty of their faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in daily married life, prompting images of the many Vincentian married couples journeying hand-in-hand on the road to holiness.
On November 26, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly declared that February 20th was to be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice. This is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. The day sends out a rallying cry to the world, and especially to Vincentians, to respond more vigorously to the needs of the poor and marginalized. It’s a time to rededicate ourselves to finding solutions to the poverty experienced by so many of God’s children, allowing society to blossom more justly.
So enjoy February! And while the month sees even the commercial world selling us “hearts and flowers” for Valentine’s Day, may we let that romantic love overflow our cup, transforming to the love of neighbor to which all Christians are called. It’s a love that requires faithfulness, commitment and sacrifice without expecting anything in return… a love we “better not forget.”