Monday, May 21, 2018

5 (Last-Minute) Ways to Celebrate the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church - A New Universal Feast Day

Have you heard?  Earlier this yearthe Pope decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church will be universally celebrated in the Roman Calender on the day after Pentecost.

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If you'd like to celebrate this feast day day in your own Domestic Church, here are a handful of ideas we'll be enjoying.

(1) Challenge Ourselves to Be More Like Mama Mary

Fr. John A. Hardon wrote a wonderful article at The Real Presence Association about Mary, Mother of the Church. In it, he shared three ideas for how each of us might ideas pattern our lives after Mary and her maternal love, which I will be presenting to my children with this dual-challenge:

  • Might we stay alert to one another's needs today, and act in haste to come to one another's aid?
  • Who do we know who is suffering physically or spiritually right now and what can we do right now to help alleviate their pain?

We will also pray the beautiful prayer that Fr. John A. Hardon shared in his article, and, late in the day, use ideas from it as a part of a bedtime examen of sorts:

  • Did I extend loving and tender sympathy to others who might have needed it today? 
  • Were my thoughts kind? 
  • Was my speech gentle?
  • Did I remain patient and cheerful? 

We will also spend some time early in the day doing a 3-minute retreat from Loyola Press based on a verse from the Lectionary for the day 

(2) Read about The Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother

We have a stack of books about Mary in our home - any of which could do for this new feast day.  However, in consideration of the day's Gospel (John 19: 25-34), I have selected "Hail Mary for Little Catholics" from Jesus and Mary to read.  This short, sweet story seems perfect for the day since it ends with the words, "And when Jesus died, He gave Mary to us for our mother." 

Of course, any story centered on Mary could do! 

If you do not have one handy, Loyola Press offers a free "Story of Mary" pdf under their Marian Resources.  It even has pictures to color included in it.

(3) Pray a Rosary 

Madonna Rosary Holder

Of course, there is no better prayer on a Marian feast day than the Rosary, so we'll be praying one together, perhaps focusing on the Nativity decade using pages from a lovely children's Rosary journal pdf we have called Ponder for Kids, which is also available in print and on sale both as a pdf and in print!)

We used portions of this book on the Ascension and especially enjoyed coloring the nature pages that bring images of Mary Gardens to our minds!

(4) Enjoy Faith through Food

Friends will be joining us for a simple al fresco blue, red, and white luncheon tea.  I'll set an outdoor table with a blue tablecoth, white and blue candles, flowers, and a Madonna Rosary Holder statue, and, on it, we'll lay a potluck of blue, red, and white foods, to include:

  • white tortilla chips
  • white bean dip
  • white tuna dip
  • homemade coconut ice cream
  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • strawberry slices
  • coconut
  • blueberry-banana smoothies
  • red rooibis ice tea
...and whatever our friends bring.

Blue, of course, is the color most commonly associated with Mary as it is both a traditional color of empresses and also the color of the sky (or heavens). 

Red comes into play because, in some traditional artwork, Our Lady traditionally wears red - a color for nobility and those in an elevated state, as well as a color the anticipates the suffering and passion and the devotion of the heart.  (On our table, the red berries will remind us of Mary's heart.)

White, of course, represents purity.

Before eating, as we typically do when enjoying faith through food, we'll ask the children why they think we chose to put each food on the table and what each could represent, and chat/catechize from there.

(5) Make a Notebooking Page or Craft

There are many wonderful Marian notebooking pages, crafts, and activities to choose from.  This year, we plan to use a fabulous free printable notebooking/coloring page that Katie from Look to Home and be Radiant shared, because it is perfect for this day (and because I did not think ahead to get supplies for our annual mini-Mary Garden planting.  (Lucky thing Mary's month is not over yet, so there will still be time for that.)

More Ideas

We often honor Our Lady here, so please scroll past posts for other ideas about Mary, the Rosary, and other Liturgical Year posts.

Among them, some simple ideas for the feast day are:

Making a Box of Hail Mary's and praying other prayers, too.
Making Mary Baskets

Enjoying a Cookie Rosary

Painting a Marian Peg Doll

Of course, I could go on and on with ideas, but am going to stop here so I can get some sleep before early morning Mass on the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

I'd love to hear how you end up celebrating this day!

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!


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