May 2018 - Overview for the Month
The month of May is dedicated to The Blessed Virgin Mary. The first 20 days fall 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 remainder of the month (beginning the Monday after Pentecost) is in Ordinary Time which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection.
Evangelization: The Mission of the Laity
That the lay faithful may fulfil their specific mission, by responding with creativity to the challenges that face the world today. (See also Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network)
The feasts on the General Roman Calendar celebrated during the month of May are:
1.Joseph the Worker, Opt. Mem.
3.Philip and James, Feast
6.Sixth Sunday of Easter, Sunday
10.Ascension of Our Lord; Damien de Veuster, priest; John of Avila (some places), Opt. Mem.
12.Nereus and Achilleus; Pancras, martyrs, Opt. Mem.
13.Ascension or the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Solemnity
15.Isidore the Farmer (USA), Opt. Mem.
18.John I, Opt. Mem.
20.Pentecost; Whitsunday, Solemnity
21.Mary, Mother of the Church; Christopher Magallanes and companions; Eugene de Mazenod (Canada), Opt. Mem.
22.Rita of Cascia, Opt. Mem.
25.Optional Memorial of St. Bede the Venerable, priest and doctor; St. Gregory VII, pope; St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, virgin, Opt. Mem.
26.Philip Neri, Memorial
27.Trinity Sunday, Solemnity
31.Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Feast
The Gospel readings for all the Sundays in May are taken from St. John and St. Mark and are from Year B, Cycle 2.
6th - 6th Sunday of Easter
Jesus gives the commandment to love one another.
13th - Ascension/7th Sunday of Easter
Jesus tells his disciples to preach the Gospel to the whole world.
20th - Pentecost Sunday
In this Gospel Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit.
27th - Trinity Sunday
Jesus is transfigured before Peter, James and John.
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.
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. Damian the Leper (May 10), St. Nereus & Achilleus, St. Pancras (May 12), St. Matthias (May 14), St. Isidore the Farmer (May 15), St. John I (May 18), St. Christopher Magallanes (May 21), St. Rita of Cascia (May 22), St. Bede, St. Gregory VII and St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi (May 25), St. Philip Neri (May 26) and the Visitation (May 31).
The feasts of Our Lady of Fatima (May 13), St. Bernadine of Siena (May 20) and St. Augustine of Canterbury (May 27) are superseded by the Sunday liturgy. The Solemnity of the Ascension (May 10) is celebrated on May 13 (Sunday) in most dioceses in the United States.
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 spiritualityâ€¦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