May is a month filled with rich traditions. It starts off on the first with May Day, the day that marks the halfway point between spring and summer. It ends with the celebration of Memorial Day, a day we remember all of those who paid for our freedom with their lives. Sandwiched in between those events, there is Cinco de Mayo, Teacher Appreciation Day, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Even Harry Potter fans have a day!
So much for the secular celebrations – May is filled with many spiritual celebrations that we sometimes overlook. When I was growing up, May meant it was the month of the Blessed Mother. There was the parish May procession and crowning, celebrated on Sunday and we marched through the streets of our neighborhood to show everyone how much we love the Mother of Jesus. Then we had the school May crowning, with a living rosary. Last but not least, each classroom had a May altar and crowning. The May crowning was always celebrated after the children celebrated their First Communion in May so that they would participate in the procession, dressed in their First Communion outfits.
What could be a more appropriate way to show our own mothers how much we love them than to honor them during the month of Mary, our Mother. There was always a Mother’s Day breakfast given by the Holy Name Society, with our parish men cooking and serving our moms!
The United States of America will celebrate this year’s National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 4, 2023. It is observed annually on the first Thursday in May. The theme for this year is, “Pray Fervently in Righteousness and Avail Much.”
Ascension Sunday is celebrated on May 21st which commemorates the day of Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven. Pentecost, May 28th, marks the end of the Easter season for Christians and commemorates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the early followers of Jesus. The Church of God, which began on Pentecost is given the mission of preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
Maybe this year, we could include our spiritual celebrations with our secular celebrations: set up a little shrine in our home for the Blessed Mother, attend Mass with our Mothers on their special day, gather our family to pray together on the National Day of Prayer, contemplate the mission of preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God in our daily lives.
Are we willing to accept the challenges that Jesus asks of us to become His disciples? Are we willing to make our faith a priority in our lives? My prayer is that we say yes to that challenge. “May the ‘fourth’ be with you!”