Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

May 2023 — Overview for the Month

by Catholic Culture Staff


The month of May is dedicated to The Blessed Virgin Mary.


May 29

The whole universe is invited to acclaim the glories of the Ascending Christ. He is surrounded with the just of Limbo, with the souls who had finished their purgatorial expiation and probably with the saints who came out of their tombs on Easter Sunday: "Ascending on high He has led captivity captive".

Recipe of the Month
Pentecost Cake

To celebrate Pentecost try this delicious moist cake, inexpensive and easy to make. It is served with a strawberry frosting.

Activity of the Month
Home Altar Hangings

Construct this Pentecost wheel to remind children of the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. After constructing the wheel, begin using it seven days before Pentecost, discussing a gift of the Holy Spirit each night.


St. Philip

It was to St. Philip that Christ addressed his remark concerning the feeding of the multitude. The roundels represent two loaves of bread.

St. James the Less

This symbol refers to the tradition that St. James was cast down from a pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem, stoned and sawn asunder by the Jews.

St. Matthias

Chosen, by lot, to replace Judas Iscariot, St. Matthias served as a missionary in Judaea, where he is said to have been stoned and beheaded. A battle axe with silver head and tawny handle, white open book with inscription "super Mathiam".

Our Lady

The fleur-de-lys is a symbol for the Blessed Virgin Mary and is derived from the Madonna's lily.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary! You are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honor of our people!

Publisher & Date

Catholic Culture, July 27, 2021

The entire month of May falls within the liturgical season of Easter, which is represented by the liturgical color white — the color of light, a symbol of joy, purity and innocence (absolute or restored).

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of May 2023

For church movements and groups: We pray that Church movements and groups may rediscover their mission of evangelisation each day, placing their own charisms at the service of needs in the world. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)

Feasts for May 1. Joseph the Worker, Opt. Mem.
2. Athanasius, Memorial
3. Philip and James, Apostles, Feast
10. Damien de Veuster (USA); John of Avila, Opt. Mem.
12. Nereus and Achilleus; Pancras, Martyrs, Opt. Mem.
13. Our Lady of Fatima, Opt. Mem.
15. Isidore the Farmer (USA); Minor Rogation Day, Opt. Mem.
18. John I or ASCENSION THURSDAY, Opt. Mem.
20. Bernardine of Siena, Opt. Mem.
22. Rita of Cascia, Opt. Mem.
25. Bede; Gregory VII; Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, Opt. Mem.
26. Philip Neri, Memorial
27. Augustine of Canterbury, Opt. Mem.
28. PENTECOST, Sunday
31. Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Ember Wednesday, Feast

Focus of the Liturgy

The Gospel readings for May are taken from St. John, except for the feast of the Ascension, which is taken from St. Matthew. All are from Year A, Weekdays Year 1.

May 7
Fifth Sunday of Easter

Jesus revealed himself to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.

May 14
Sixth Sunday of Easter

I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate.

May 21
Ascension Sunday or
Seventh Sunday of Easter

Ascension: All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Seventh Sunday: Father, glorify your Son.

May 28
Pentecost Sunday

In this Gospel, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit.

Highlights of the Month

As Spring blossoms forth and we are surrounded by new life, we spend this month full of the joy of our Easter celebration and in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Spirit, our Consoler and Advocate on Pentecost (May 28).

The saints that we will focus on this month—those who have already shared in the rewards of the Resurrection—are:
St. Joseph the Worker (May 1),
St. Athanasius (May 2),
Sts. Philip and James (May 3),
St. Damien de Vuester (May 10),
St. Nereus & Achilleus, St. Pancras (May 12),
Our Lady of Fatima (May 13),
St. Isidore the Farmer (May 15),
St. John I (May 18),
St. Bernadine of Siena (May 20),
St. Rita of Cascia (May 22),
St. Bede, St. Gregory VII and St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi (May 25),
St. Philip Neri (May 26),
St. Augustine of Canterbury (May 27)
and the Visitation (May 31).

The feasts of St. Matthias (May 14), and St. Christopher Magallanes(May 21), are superseded by the Sunday liturgy. The Solemnity of the Ascension (May 18) is celebrated on May 21 (Sunday) in most dioceses in the United States.

A Time of Grace
The world is resplendent with Spring's increased light and new growth. It is Mary's month in the Easter season and all of nature rejoices with the Queen of heaven at the Resurrection of the Son she was worthy to bear. During the remainder of Easter time, let us endeavor through the prayers of the Holy Liturgy and the Holy Rosary to deepen our gratitude for the mystery of our Baptismal rebirth in Christ.

"The month of May, with its profusion of blooms was adopted by the Church in the eighteenth century as a celebration of the flowering of Mary's maidenly spirituality...With its origins in Isaiah's prophecy of the Virgin birth of the Messiah under the figure of the Blossoming Rod or Root of Jesse, the flower symbolism of Mary was extended by the Church Fathers, and in the liturgy, by applying to her the flower figures of the Sapiential Books—Canticles, Wisdom, Proverbs and Sirach.

"In the medieval period, the rose was adopted as the flower symbol of the Virgin Birth, as expressed in Dante's phrase, 'The Rose wherein the Divine Word was made flesh,' and depicted in the central rose windows of the great gothic cathedrals-from which came the Christmas carol, 'Lo, How a Rose 'ere Blooming.' Also, in the medieval period, when monasteries were the centers of horticultural and agricultural knowledge, and with the spread of the Fransiscan love of nature, the actual flowers themselves, of the fields, waysides and gardens, came to be seen as symbols of Mary..." —John S. Stokes

Pentecost, the birth of the Church, is also among the celebrations of May. Though sprung from the side of Christ on the Cross, the Church marks as her birthday the descent of the Holy Spirit on Mary and the Apostles. At the 'birth' of the world, the Holy Spirit — the Breath of God — was the "mighty wind [that] swept over the waters" (Gen 1:2); at the birth of the Church He is present again "like the rush of a mighty wind" to recreate the world in the image of Christ through His Church (Acts 2:2).

We, the members of Christ's Mystical Body, are the present-day disciples sent by the Holy Spirit to bring Christ to the world. May we go forth as did Mary, who set out in haste to assist St. Elizabeth (feast of the Visitation, May 31). Come upon us, O Holy Spirit, so that, with Mary, we may proclaim the greatness of the Lord who has done great things for us — for his mercy endures forever!

"In the hierarchy of holiness it is precisely the 'woman', Mary of Nazareth, who is the 'figure' of the Church. She 'precedes' everyone on the path to holiness; in her person 'the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle'". —John Paul II Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988

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