Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

Catholic Activity: Nameday Ideas for the Feast of the Visitation


  • Readings from Luke 1:39-47
  • Magnificat text or music
  • Heart shaped or musical shaped dessert
  • Artwork of the Visitation

Prep Time

1 hour


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Nameday ideas and activities for the feast of the Visitation. Formerly this feast was July 2, but it is now celebrated on May 31.


Nameday for Marybeth, Betty Marie, Marie Violette, Mary Elizabeth, Mary Viola, Moreen Eilese (Irish), Visitacion (Spanish), Marie Giselle and Marie Isabelle (French), Mary Ishbel (Scottish), and Maria Elizabetta (Italian).

Father:Let us celebrate the Virgin Mary's visit to Elizabeth.
All:Let us adore her Son, Christ the Lord. Hymn: O MARY OF GRACES. 1. O Mary of graces And Mother of God, May I tread in the paths That the righteous have trod. And mayest thou save me from Evil's control, And mayest thou save me In body and soul.

2. And mayest thou save me By land and by sea, And mayest thou save me from tortures to be. May the guard of the Angels above me abide, May God be before me and God be at my side.

Father:This day the Blessed Virgin Mary of the family of David visited her cousin Elizabeth.
All:Most devoutly let us celebrate the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Father:Let us pray. Bestow on Your servants, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that as the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin was the beginning of our salvation, so the solemn festival of her Visitation may bring us an increase of peace. Through Christ our Lord.
All:Amen. Christ conquers, Christ reigns!
Holy Scripture (Luke 1:39-47) tells how Our Lady, bearing the God-man within her, hurried to meet her cousin Elizabeth. Hearing her praise, Mary answered in that wonderful song we call the Magnificat, the most perfect thanksgiving and praise for the incarnation of the Son of God and a most precious monument of Mary's humility. She praises God with all the powers of her soul and gives glory to Him alone.

This hymn should have a place in all nameday prayers on Mary's feasts. A parent trying to paraphrase it for a child might say: "I am thankful to God and I rejoice with a holy joy for the great favors which God has granted me, His humble servant. By reason of His goodness to me, I shall be admired and honored forever. I rejoice because of the wondrous miracle wrought in me by the Almighty, who is all-holy."

Dessert and decorations. This nameday suggests a heart-shaped dessert (see Heart Cake) because of Mother Mary's charity and because the heart in art is considered to be the source of understanding, love, courage, devotion and joy. Its deep religious meaning is expressed in 1 Sam. 16:7.

This feast recalls Mary's great humility. In honor of her Magnificat musical symbols would be appropriate on a cake. Candied violets for a nameday cake can be found in the gourmet shops of large department stores. The violet is a symbol of humility; St. Bernard referred to Our Lady as the "violet of humility."

Artwork: The Visitation in blue and white by Lauren Ford; Grünewald reproduction; The National Gallery of Art has Fra Angelico's Madonna of Humility; Our Lady of the Violet by Stephan Lochner (a picture for Viola or Violet) may be seen in Volume IX, p. 320 of the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Activity Source: My Nameday — Come for Dessert by Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 1962