Mary, Mother of the Church: a New Feast Day! (Plus Other May Feast Days and . . . My Book Cover!)

When I did my reader survey, the one thing you guys asked for above all other things was that I give you some advance warning for feast days. The problem with that is that my personal liturgical living style is mostly getting a reminder on my phone at 9am, realizing that it's a feast day I like, and deciding I'll swing by Aldi to pick something up. #itshowiroll So I'm not making any promises that this is going to happen regularly or anything, but there are some great feasts this month, and I want to give you some notice. (All of this will, of course, be in the Catholic All Year Compendium when it comes out this fall, yay! You'll be able to plan ahead with impunity. If you can make it to the end, there's an exciting reveal down there. 😀)

MAY 9: First up, Wednesday May 9 is the feast of St. Louise de Marillac. This is noteworthy because it was on March 15th until two years ago. In our house, it's Lulu's nameday, so she gets to pick what we have for dinner, as part of our Three Special Days.


I'm not aware of any traditional celebrations for her feast day, but I was reading through her last will and testament recently (like you do), and loved the fact that from her sickbed, Louise added a new bequest: that her only grandchild, Louise Renee (her five year old namesake), might invite the poor of her parish to an annual dinner and serve them herself as guests, using funds left to her in the will. Our Lulu is four, so maybe that for next year.

MAY 10 or 13: Next comes the Ascension, which is observed on its traditional Thursday date in some places in the world including the Vatican, and (newly back this year!) in England and Wales, and in the U.S. ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia. For the rest of us the observation is moved to Sunday May 13th (which this year is also Mother's Day).

Our traditional meal is popovers. They have simple ingredients, and are easy to make (I whip them up in my giant purple blender) and they work in "real" popover pans (for BIG ones), or regular muffin tins (for little ones). But they rise up quite impressively before your very eyes int he oven, making them especially fun for the day. This is the recipe I use.

MAY 20: The next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the end of the Easter season and the birthday of the Church! The Vigil of Pentecost is a recommended day of fasting and abstinence, as are the Spring Ember Days, which fall on the following Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Oh, and the Monday, Tuesday (as in today), and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday are the Minor Rogation Days, and are traditionally observed as days of abstinence from meat. For more on all that see this post:


MAY 21: On my liturgical year wall calendar (newly marked down on Etsy and on Lulu with free shipping using SHIPIT2018) the day after Pentecost is the feast of the Mexican Martyrs. And it IS. Usually we have some tacos and margaritas and Mexi-cokes, which are the very best cokes around, and celebrate Mexican culture on a day that's completely free of problematic anti-Catholic freemason ties.

Not on the calendar, because it wasn't a thing until March of 2018, is the NEWEST feast on the universal liturgical calendar: the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

I love this image, from the little Baltimore First Communion Catechism I'm using with first communicant number six this year. The ladder is the sacraments, it leans on the Church, and Mary helps us to climb each rung up to the Holy Trinity waiting for us in heaven!

It will be observed each year on the Monday following Pentecost, which, this year, is May 21st. Both feasts rank as memorials, and neither bumps the other. So we can celebrate either or both as we choose.

Pope Francis, through Card. Sarah and the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, expressed the wish that the celebration of this new feast day would help all of us grow in devotion to Jesus and Mary.
Having attentively considered how greatly the promotion of this devotion might encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety, Pope Francis has decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, should be inscribed in the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost and be now celebrated every year.This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer,the Virgin who makes her offering to God.

The idea was to place the feast on the day after Pentecost, to highlight the Mary's role among the apostles present at the Descent of the Holy Spirit, and at the birth of the Church. Pretty cool.

Since it's all new, it's up to us to figure out a way to celebrate it. I'm thinking Mass, a Rosary, and a homey meal of traditional mom-type foods like meatloaf, and apple pie. And margaritas, because Mexican martyrs.

Oh, and Katie from Look to Him and be Radiant created a very cute printable craft for the day. Check that out here.

MAY 22: Next up is St. Rita, patroness of impossible causes, difficult marriages, and baseball! Hot Dogs, more margaRITAs, and a game of baseball and/or a screening of the Rookie are our go tos for the day.

MAY 27: Then comes Trinity Sunday. I like to spend the day avoiding heresies about the Holy Trinity . . .

And for dinner, until I can manage a turducken, I like to make three meat chili and cloverleaf rolls. These can be made from scratch, or with premade pizza dough.

MAY 30: The feast day of my adopted patroness, St. Joan of Arc! First order of business is to see if Zendaya will let me borrow her gown from the Met Gala. It is STUNNING! See more here.

These two dresses were my most and least favorite of the red carpet. And I enjoyed this take on the event.

Anyway, for the day, I MUST have a croque madame: an amazing grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. Don't ask questions, just make one! It's completely delicious, and the name translates to "crispy lady." If you know me, you know I'm totally there for that.

MAY 31: Finally, on the last day of the Month of Mary, we celebrate the Visitation. It's the day we remember Mary (who was herself expecting) traveling to meet her cousin Elizabeth and help her until baby St. John the Baptist was born. We like to recite the Magnificat, as it's the exclamation of Mary to Elizabeth at the Visitation. From right there in the Bible. I use the day to make a few casserole-type dishes to bring to friends who are expecting or have new babies.

And now, so fun, I can exclusively reveal to you the cover of my book, created by the lovely and talented Tricia Dugat of Providential Co. . . .

What do you think? 😊Do you like it? Does it give off a fun/retro/soothing/you can do this vibe? That's what we were going for.

And let me know if you've got any celebration ideas for the new feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. I did get it added to the book in the last round of edits, but I'll have one last crack at making changes after it gets formatted and before it goes to the printer in August!