You are on page 1of 1


Feast Day—March 4
Born in Krakow, Casimir was the son
of Casimir IV, king of Poland and grand
duke of Lithuania, and Elizabeth of
Austria. Known for his refusal to take
up arms, personal piety, generosity to
the poor, and devotion to the Blessed
Mother, he rejected the idea of marrying in favor of voluntary chastity. During
a visit to Lithuania, he fell ill, died from
tuberculosis at the age of 25 and was
buried in the cathedral in Vilnius, Lithuania. Canonized in 1521, he
is the patron of Poland and Lithuania.


Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation:
for all the earth is yours.


Fighting between armed forces made life in Cumbitara, Colombia,
dangerous for Maria and her family—so dangerous that eight
years ago they were forced to relocate. They left their home one
morning with nothing but a suitcase of clothes.
It wasn’t easy making a new life in Nariño, a region of
Colombia known for its coffee. People made fun of Maria and her
family because they were outsiders. It was also hard to find work,
and Maria’s father left home for months at a time to do dangerous
work in a mine.
All that changed when the family bought a little piece of land
through the CRS Borderlands project. On it, they grow gourmet
coffee that is sold in the United States. And Maria, now 18 years
old, is passionate about coffee too. She was chosen for a special
program and is earning a degree in farming.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation:
you make us hunger and thirst for holiness.
Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation:
you call us to true fasting:
to set free the oppressed,
to share our bread with the hungry,
to shelter the homeless and to clothe the naked.

PSALM 102:5-8, 10, 13
Withered and dried up like grass is my heart;
I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my insistent sighing
I am reduced to skin and bone.
I am like a desert owl;
I have become like an owl among the ruins.
I am sleepless, and I moan;
I am like a sparrow alone on the housetop.
For I eat ashes like bread
and mingle my drink with tears.
But you, O Lord, abide forever,
and your name through all generations.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation:
you manifest yourself when we are silent.

The program, run by the local university and CRS’ Borderlands
project staff, trains young people to become leaders in the coffee industry. During her first semester, she learned from staff
as they traveled to farms, teaching growers new ways to plant
and harvest.
Coffee, which Maria knew nothing about before starting
the program, is now her favorite subject. She’s even traveled to
Seattle, Washington, to attend a conference on specialty coffee.
“It is in my blood,” she says. “Coffee is so much a part of
everyday life—not just for me and my family, but globally. It’s not
just a plant or something you drink, it brings people together.”
Now she has a new career goal: to help neighboring coffee
farmers make a living growing the best coffee possible.
Read more stories about how Lenten alms become lifesaving
aid at

Saint of the Week, copyright © 2016, Catholic News Service–United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Image: Saint Casimir,
Editions Magnificat, Mont-Tremblant, Québec, • Prayers taken from “Lenten Disciplines: Fasting and Almsgiving,” Catholic Household Blessings
and Prayers, Revised Edition, copyright © 2007, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. • Salt and Light article was
originally published on To Go Forth, a blog of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace & Human Development. Copyright © 2016,
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington DC. All rights reserved. Photo: Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for Catholic Relief Services.