Feb. 20: San Francisco Province bishops, El Retiro, Los Altos
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Feb. 21-28: San Francisco Province bishops retreat, El Retiro, Los Altos
Feb. 24: Gold Star Mothers' Ceremony, Marines' Memorial Club, San Francisco
March 1: 12:10 p.m. Ash Wednesday Mass, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland
March 3: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., priests study day, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland
March 4: 10 a.m. Mass and Confirmation, Saint Mary's Parish, Walnut Creek
2 p.m. Rite of Election, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland
March 5: 4 p.m. Rite of Election, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland
7 p.m. Rite of Election - Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland
March 6-8: Installation of Bishop Oscar Solis, Salt Lake City, Utah
Blessing of the throats
Revs. Alfonso Borgen, OFM Conv., and Bich Nguyen bless throats of people after Mass Feb. 3, for the feast of St. Blaise. St. Blaise was an Armenian physician who died in 316. Crossed candles are used to bless throats on his feast day; prayers are made asking St. Blaise to intercede in illnesses, especially those of the throat.
ALBERT C. PACCIORINI/THE CATHOLIC VOICE
Jubilee of Mercy website
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"The Catholic Church is always having a 'Year of Mercy.' It is what we are and what we do," Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, wrote in his Jan. 9 column in The Catholic Voice. The Diocese of Oakland's Jubilee of Mercy website —www.jubileeofmercy-eb.org— relaunches on Ash Wednesday, March 1, with updated information on how to participate in acts of mercy. The "Mercy Project" video series provides information on people in ministries that are living out the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
Care in Medjugorje
A statue of Mary is seen outside St. James Church in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this Feb. 26, 2011, file photo. Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga, Poland, as his special envoy to Medjugorje, the site of alleged Marian apparitions. A Vatican statement said his role would be to study the pastoral situation in Medjugorje.
A poster expressing criticism of Pope Francis is seen in Rome Feb. 5. Several copies of the poster were placed in the center of Rome; some were quickly covered by city authorities.
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Discernment is needed to understand life's ambiguities, not rigid thinking that tends to silence the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis said. True discernment can only be achieved by interpreting the signs of the times and listening to the sufferings of others, especially the poor, the pope told editors and staff of an Italian Jesuit journal.
After a handful of public challenges to Pope Francis' teaching and authority, the members of the pope's international Council of Cardinals began their February meeting expressing their "full support" for his work. Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the council, began the meeting Feb. 13 assuring the pope of the cardinals' "full support for his person and his magisterium," according to a statement published by the Vatican press office.
Christians of substance
Obeying the true spirit of the commandments and not just a literal interpretation of them is what makes Christians become authentic witnesses, Pope Francis said. As seen through Mary's example, following the commandments "is possible with the grace of the Holy Spirit which enables us to do everything with love and to fully carry out the will of God," he said Feb. 12.
Health care a service
A nation's health care system cannot be run simply as a business because human lives are at stake, Pope Francis said. "If there is a sector in which the 'throwaway culture' demonstrates its most painful consequences, it is the health care sector," the pope told patients, medical professionals, pastors and volunteers attending a meeting sponsored by the Italian bishops' national office for health care ministry.
— Catholic News Service