March 1, 2017  Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.

      Following the example of the Ninevites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes. The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. They  are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. Our foreheads are marked with a cross made from the ashes to humble our hearts and remind us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told, "Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return."

     The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they wore during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled them with ashes made from the palms from the previous year.


   Whether you were born into the Catholic faith or converted to Catholicism, you most likely have people in your life who inspired or encouraged you in your walk of faith. And that's a really good thing!

   Pope Francis once described it this way: "It is through an unbroken chain of witnesses that we come to see the face of Jesus. But how is this possible? Persons always live in relationship. We come from others, we belong to others, and our lives are enlarged by our encounter with others."

   First, remember those people who have been part of your own "unbroken chain of witnesses." It may have been a parish priest whose homilies have moved you over the years; it may be a favorite pope or a saint whom you felt a real kinship with. Or it may be your parents or a neighbor who has encouraged you by sharing day-to-day life with you. Whoever they are, think about why they came to mind. What was it about their witness that enlarged your faith or helped you trust the Lord more deeply? If possible, find a way to thank these people. If they have already passed on, then pray to them.

   Next, imitate their faith. Think about how these models of faith have influenced you. If it's their humble way of caring for people, try to reach out a bit more today. You'll likely find that imitating their faith will also make you an inspiration to someone else!

   That's the way faith works: we all influence each other. Just as your life was shaped by people who have inspired you, you can be a link in someone else's chain of witnesses. And so the gospel is spread, and the Church continues to grow.

"Lord, thank You for the people in my life who have helped me grow closer to You. Help me to imitate their faith so that I can continue this unbroken chain of witnesses."


We make a living by what we get . . . We make a Life by what we give.



          Many of our Ave Maria Publications readers have read and enjoyed Father Pat's books and have asked when his "next book" was to come out… Father Pat never knows beforehand when a new book is to come out! "They're always a surprise even to me," he said. "When the Good Lord gives the outline and says, 'Go write!' He provides the place and the inspiration, and the book 'flows' out!"  His first book's manuscript was written in Appleton, Wisconsin, and Bristol, Vermont! His second book was completed while recovering from sinus surgery in New Port Richey, Florida! The third book was finished while replacing a priest in Marathon Key, Florida, and his fourth book's manuscript came out from the island of Maui! His fifth book came out while he was "on the road!"

            On August 19, 2016, Father Pat was on the road again for two missions in North Carolina and one in Georgia! And, guess what! God had a surprise waiting for him in North Carolina. Between missions he stayed with our dear Ray & Marie Young at their summer home, a cabin in the Smokey Mountains.  There God gave us Father Pat's 6th book!


Mary, My Mother, Help Me To See God's Love For Me Today

by Father Patrick A. Martin

          As most of our readers know, Father Pat's books  -- and all of his works -- are given without price tags. "Sponsors" help make the first edition of each of his books available and then donations keep the subsequent editions available to people without charge! That way, EVERYONE can afford Fr. Pat's books!  500 sponsors, each giving $60.00, help publish ten thousand plus copies of the book as its first edition. Sponsors' names and "dedication lines" are printed gratefully in these first-edition copies. Sponsors receive the edition's first 500 copies, autographed and mailed to them via First Class Mail!

             Would you, and someone you know, like to help publish Fr. Pat's newest book? Feel free to make copies of this flier, and give them to friends and family, who would like to help. As soon as the 500 sponsors are registered with Ave Maria Place, we will be free to go to press! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVING HELP! GOD BLESS YOU!


     I would love to sponsor Father Pat's newest book!

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State/Province: ____________________________   Zip/Postal Code_____________________


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Enclose Check to "Ave Maria Place"   $___________

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   That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers
and material help of the whole Church.

A message from Bishop Michael Cote
Diocese of Norwich, CT
March 26, 2017


On December 7, 1965, the Second Vatican Council approved Dignitatis Humanae, the Declaration on Religious Liberty. The Declaration addresses a question that comes up in every generation: how do we understand freedom, truth, and the relationship between church and state?

Visit: and search for: Human Dignitatis Humanae for a comprehensive explanation.

Music: Happy Birthday
This page last updated March 19, 2017