May is the month dedicated the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It is the "month which the piety of the faithful has especially dedicated to Our Blessed Lady," and it is the occasion for a "moving tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world [pay] to the Queen of Heaven. During this month Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration. In this month, too, the benefits of God's mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance"
(Paul VI: Encyclical on the Month of May, no. 1).
Devotion to Mary
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Church and therefore the example, as well as the guide and inspiration, of everyone who, in and through the Church, seeks to be the servant of God and man and the obedient agent of the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, as Pope Leo XIII reminded us, is the soul of the Church: All the activity and service of the members of the Church, beginning with the supreme participation of the Blessed Mother in the work of the Church, is vivified by the Holy Spirit as the body, in all its activities, is vivified by its soul. The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete, Advocate, and Comforter which Christ Himself sent to be our consolation in the sorrowful mysteries of life, our source of moderation in the joyful mysteries of life, our added principle of exaltation in the glorious mysteries of life.
So He was for the Blessed Mother; so also He is for the least of us; so also He is for the rest of the Church, even for those who are its unconscious but conscientious members.
Wherever there is faith there is the example of Mary, because she lived by faith as the Scriptures remind us....
If, then, piety is the virtue which binds us to the sources of all life, to God, to our parents, to the Church, to Christ, certainly Christian piety binds us, in grateful love, to Mary — or our acceptance of Christ and of the mystery of our kinship with Him is imperfect, partial, and unfulfilled.
— Cardinal John Wright
Mary and Our Spiritual Life
In our observance of the Marian month we should take into account the season of the Liturgical Year which largely corresponds with the fifty days of Easter. Our pious exercises could emphasize Our Lady's participation in the Paschal mystery and in Pentecost with which the Church begins. The pious exercises connected with the month of May can easily highlight the earthly role played by the glorified Queen of Heaven, here and now, in the celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.
The following practices which are recommended by the Magisterium are offered as suggestions for honoring Our Lady during Her month.
The Regina Coeli
The ecclesial community addresses this antiphon to Mary for the Resurrection of her Son. It adverts to, and depends on, the invitation to joy addressed by Gabriel to the Lord's humble servant who was called to become the Mother of the saving Messiah.
Also called the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Rosary is one of the most excellent prayers to the Mother of God. Thus, "the Roman Pontiffs have repeatedly exhorted the faithful to the frequent recitation of this biblically inspired prayer which is centered on contemplation of the salvific events of Christ's life, and their close association with the Virgin Mother."
Litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary
These consist of a long series of invocations to Our Lady, which follow in a uniform rhythm, thereby creating a stream of prayer characterized by insistent praise and supplication.
The Brown Scapular and other Scapulars
The scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.
These are witnesses of faith and a sign of veneration of the Holy Mother of God, as well as of trust in her maternal protection.
Excepted from the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy
Holy Father's Prayer Intentions For May 2019
The Church in Africa, a Seed of Unity: That the Church in Africa, through the commitment of its members, may be the seed of unity among her peoples and a sign of hope for this continent.
Mary, Mother of Grace
Mary, Mother of grace, Mother of mercy, shield me from the enemy and receive me at the hour of my death. Amen.
Mary, Help of Those in Need
help those in need,
give strength to the weak,
comfort the sorrowful,
pray for God's people,
assist the clergy,
intercede for religious.
Mary all who seek your help
experience your unfailing protection.
Blessed be Your Purity
Blessed be your purity,
May it be blessed forever,
For no less than God takes delight,
In such exalted beauty.
To you, heavenly Princess,
Holy Virgin Mary,
I offer on this day
My whole heart, life and soul.
Look upon me with compassion,
Do not leave me, my Mother.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions, but, in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.
Marian Prayer Day by Day
Mary, Mother of our Redeemer and Mother of the Church, we offer you the praise of the Angel of the Annunciation--Hail, full of grace! Through you the Holy Spirit gave this world Jesus its Savior--Son of God, Word made Flesh, Foundation of the Church.
Through you God's holy people, his Church on earth, appeal for light and strength in its pilgrimage of faith. You have gone before us on the same journey and are now glorified in heaven. Be for us who are still on that journey of faith a true Star of the Sea, leading us to the presence of your Son where he sits at the right hand of the Father, enthroned in glory.
You were the first to believe. You persevered in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room. You were a unique witness to the mystery of Jesus. All generations have called you blessed. Now in this Marian year God's holy Church looks yet again to you for inspiration and help.
Be our Mother. Share with us your limitless faith. Take and keep us within your protective arms in a world that has largely lost faith and abandoned hope. Petition for us from your Son--as once you did so powerfully at Cana of Galilee--an increase of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life so that the Church may flourish in our time and thereby magnify his name. Touch the hearts of all our youth that they may see in every walk of life an opportunity to serve.
Take from all our hearts the selfishness that sours relationships and keeps us centered only on ourselves. Give us hearts aflame with charity and filled with love. Make us, like the apostle John who was commended to your care, loving children of our heavenly Father, conscious always of your maternal presence in our lives.
Look favorably upon your children in our failure to provide the one flock under one shepherd for which Jesus prayed. Shine forth for us and for all the peoples as a sign of sure hope and solace as we strive to make our pilgrimage of faith hand in hand. Be our common Mother who prays for the unity of God's family. May we see in you our model of that obedience of faith which should be found in all who listen attentively to what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.
He who is mighty has done great things for you. Humbly we ask that you in turn may do for us these things for which we pray in the name and through the power of that most Holy Spirit who lives and reigns in the unity of the Father and the Son, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
-- written by Saint Pope John Paul II
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Saints of the Month
5/01 St Joseph the Worker
Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955.
5/02 St Athanasius
The vigor of his writing earned him the title of doctor of the Church.
5/03 Sts Philip & James
These men were chosen by Jesus to be apostles.
5/04 Bl Michael Giedroyc
He was a dwarf who had the use of only one foot.
5/05 St Hilary of Arles
Hilary was only 29 when he was chosen bishop of Arles.
5/06 Sts James & Mariana
For their devotion to the faith they suffered during the persecution of Valerian.
5/07 St Rose Venerini
She was a born teacher and opened the free school for girl in 1685.
5/08 St Peter of Tarentaise
He was named archbishop of Tarentaise, replacing a bishop who had been deposed because of corruption.
5/09 St Catharine of Bologna
Her reputation for holiness drew many young women to the Poor Clare life.
5/10 St Damien Joseph de Veuster of Moloka'i
He went to the Hawaiian government's leper colony on the island of Molokai.
5/11 St Ignatius of Laconi
During a serious illness, Ignatius vowed to become a Capuchin if he recovered.
5/12 Sts Nereus and Achilleus
They were praetorian soldiers of the Roman army.
5/13 Our Lady of Fatima
The Catholic Church has officially endorsed the Fatima Message "as worthy of belief" since 1930.
5/14 St Matthias
...Matthias is not mentioned by name anywhere else in the New Testament.
5/15 St Bernadette Soubirous
The sacred relic (Bernadette's body) was placed in a coffin of gold and glass and can be viewed to this very day.
5/16 St Margaret of Cortona
For nine years she lived with Arsenio, though they were not married, and she bore him a son.
5/17 St Paschal Baylon
Between the ages of seven and 24 he worked as a shepherd and began a life of mortification.
5/18 St John 1
Pope John I inherited the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ.
5/19 St Theophilus of Corte
Theophilus was born in Corsica of rich and noble parents.
5/20 St Bernardine of Siena
Bernardine had a keen intuition of the needs of the time.
5/21 Sts Cristóbal Magallanes and Companions
All of these martyrs except three were diocesan priests.
5/22 St Rita of Cascia
Rita of Cascia was a wife, mother, widow and member of a religious community.
5/23 St Felix of Cantalice
Felix was the first Capuchin Franciscan ever canonized.
5/24 St Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi
She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events.
5/25 St Bede the Venerable
At an early age Bede was entrusted to the care of the abbot of the Monastery of St. Paul, Jarrow.
5/26 St Philip Neri
At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence
5/27 St Augustine of Canterbury
Augustine of Canterbury can truly be called the “Apostle of England.”
5/28 Venerable Pierre Toussaint
Born in modern-day Haiti and brought to New York City as a slave, Pierre died a free man.
5/29 St Madeleine Sophie Barat
She founded the Society of the Sacred Heart, which would focus on schools for the poor as well as boarding schools for young women of means.
5/30 St Gregory VII
He said, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.”
5/31 The Visitation
Mary went from Galilee to Judea to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth.