O Lord, may the faithful begin the solemn season of fast with fitting piety, and may they continue through to its end with unwavering devotion. Through our Lord . . .
Frances was born in Rome in 1384. When she was thirteen years of age, her parents married her to Lorenzo Ponziano, a man of outstanding virtue. Frances brought up her children in the love and fear of God. She was zealous in the performance of every household duty, saying, "A married woman must often leave God at the altar to find Him in her domestic cares." While her husband was still living, she founded an order of Oblates affiliated with the Benedictines; and when she became a widow she was elected superior of those religious women. Frances died on March 9, 1440, her face radiant with an unearthly glory.
O God, among the many gifts of grace You bestowed on Your blessed servant Frances, You granted her an intimate friendship with an angel. May we be worthy of fellowship with the angels through her intercession. Through Our Lord . . .
Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bridal chamber. Between the porch and the altar the priests, the Lord's ministers, shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: and give not thy inheritance to reproach, that the heathens should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God? The Lord hath been zealous for his land, and hath spared his people. And the Lord answered, and said to his people: Behold I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and you shall be filled with them: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.
"Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through, and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also."
Accept this gift, O Lord, from a people dedicated to You. We offer it in honor of Your saints for the help we have received from them when we were in trouble. Through our Lord . . .
O Lord, You have feasted Your family with the Food of heaven. May we always be refreshed through the intercession of Your saint whose feast we celebrate this day. Through our Lord . . .