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Did you know Fat Tuesday honors the Holy Face of Jesus?

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Philip Kosloski - published on 02/03/24

As devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus spread in the early 20th century, Fat Tuesday was appointed as a special feast day.
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While Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) is most well-known for its sumptuous celebrations and festivities before Ash Wednesday, the Church also honors the Holy Face of Jesus on that day.

Devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus spread throughout the Church in the late 19th century and grew in popularity during the early 20th century.

According to Annabelle Moseley in an article for Aleteia, “In 1843, Sister Marie of St. Peter had visions of Jesus requesting a devotion to His Holy Face called ‘The Golden Arrow,’ which brings Him great delight; as He said to Sr. Marie, ‘All who honor My Holy Face in a spirit of reparation thereby perform for Me the services of the pious Veronica.’”

Even St. Therese of Lisieux became attracted to this devotion and added it to her religious name, “Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.”

Moseley adds in her article, “In 1938, Jesus appeared to Blessed Maria Pierina de Micheli, His face bloodied by His Passion, and said, speaking of His Face, ‘I wish that it be venerated by a special feast on Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I wish that the feast be preceded by a novena in which the faithful make reparation with me, joining together and sharing in my sorrow.’” 

The League of St. Martin explains, “The Sacred Congregation of Rites under Pope St. Pius X granted permission for the Mass of the Holy Face in the Decreta, vol. 1910, p. 189a. On April 17th, 1958, Ven. Pope Pius XII extended the devotion by approving the observance of the Feast of the Holy Face on Shrove Tuesday (Tuesday before Ash Wednesday).”

After Vatican II this feast is no longer officially celebrated on the General Calendar, but individuals can still honor the Holy Face of Jesus with private devotions on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

Devotions and FeastsJesus ChristLent
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