MAY - THE MONTH OF OUR LADY
The Month of May: As everyone is well aware the month of May is the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We may ask ourselves why is such the case? After all, each of the months of the year brings around her glorious feasts. Why is August not the month of Our Lady when we celebrate the Assumption? Why is December not the month of Our Lady when we celebrate her Immaculate Conception? What is it about May which makes it the month of Our Lady? Quite simply, it is because the month of May is the most beautiful month both in the natural and supernatural order. And Our Lady is the most beautiful of all the Good God’s creation.
May is the most beautiful month in the natural order. It is in May that the season of spring is first perceived. Although spring begins at the vernal equinox toward the end of March, it is not until May that we see the days grow longer, brighter and warmer. The earth breaks forth in full life and the birds sing for joy. And although even May sometimes may be quite harsh, nonetheless, we know that soon the warm weather will be with us. It is therefore the month of hope and promise.
May is also the most beautiful month in the supernatural order. Almost always the whole month of May is in the Easter season when the joy-filled alleluia rings through our churches. The feast of the Ascension is always in May (except once or twice every forty years or so) and more often than not, the Feast of Pentecost is in May. May also brings with it the celebration of many of the saints. Three of the apostles have their feast days in May: St. Philip, St. James and St. John. The Holy Archangel St. Michael’s apparition on Monte Gargano is celebrated in May. And so dear to us here at St. Paul’s, the feast of St. Philip Neri (May 26th) is celebrated in May. His holy image and relic adorn our Daily Mass Chapel.
During the month of May we should make every effort to offer a gift to Our Lady each day. Not the kind of gift one buys at the store. We should offer a spiritual gift. One day we could offer her the Rosary well said, another day a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, another day a visit to an elderly or lonely person, etc. You see there are as many gifts as there are days in the month.
St. Gabriel Possenti was a member of the Passionist order (Many may know the Passionists from their monastery in Jamaica) who died at the age of 24 in 1862. Here is his advice to us: Love Mary! She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you.
This wonderful month will bring many graces and activities to our parish:
ASCENSION THURSDAY (May 25th): Thursday May 25th is Ascension Thursday. It is the wondrous feast of Our Lord’s return to heaven where He awaits us and where He has prepared a place for us. It is a HOLYDAY OF OBLIGATION. The Masses that day will be Wednesday evening at 7.30PM and on Thursday at 8.00AM and 12.15PM. Make every effort to attend Holy Mass that day. Interestingly, in England the Feast is called Holy Thursday and what we Americans call Holy Thursday (the Thursday before Good Friday) is called Maundy Thursday in England. Maundy is the Old English word for the Latin mandatum which refers to the foot washing ceremony. Please note the parish office will be closed in observance of the Holyday.
CONFIRMATION: On Ascension Thursday May 25th His Excellency Bishop Robert J. Brennan will confirm our candidates for Confirmation. May God bless them and their families. May God reward our catechists and aides who give so much of their time to the formation of our young people. May God bless Br. Joseph Bellizzi, S.M., principal of Chaminade High School and Director of Religious Education here at St. Paul’s. May God bless Mrs. Louise Shannon our Faith Formation Administrator.
The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Today at the 9.30AM Mass the children who have made their First Holy Communion this year will be enrolled in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The scapular is Our Lady’s own gift to us. On July 16th 1253 she appeared to St. Simon Stock in Aylesford, England, and presented the scapular to him. She promised many graces to those who would wear it faithfully. (I will write more about the scapular near the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in July. May our little ones always be under the patronage and protection of the Holy Mother of God. They will also crown the statue of Our Blessed Mother after the Mass.