May, the month of the primroses, the May altar, and the May procession. Mary was always the centre of this month.

 May 1st / Lá Bealtaine

Month of Mary the Mother of our Lord / Mí na Maighdine Muire

Dear Mary,

Like a woeful child,

I am in need of your motherly care.

Wrap your arms around me for comfort,

dry my tears,

take me by the hand,

and lead me to your Son,

the source of all that is good.

For only he can cast out the shadows of my troubled heart.


Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. Mary’s profound Prayer, her “Fiat” (Let it be done) in response to the visitation from the messenger of heaven, the angel, provides a pattern of prayer and a way to live for every Christian. It issues forth in her song of praise, her “Magnificat.” This song begins with the words “Magnificat anima mea Dominum” “My soul doth magnify the Lord” (Luke 1:46-55). However, the “Fiat” is more than a prayer and the “Magnificat” more than a hymn of praise. Together they reveal the Way of the first disciple, Mary, and together they constitute a guide, for this journey of life that we all walk.


The Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month of May 2021:

The world of finance

Let us pray that those in charge of finance will work with governments to regulate the financial sphere and protect citizens from its dangers.


May 1st

Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker / Naomh Iosef, Oibrí

May is the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, a day on which the Church encourages us to celebrate the value of work, and the dignity and rights of workers. “May Day” has long been dedicated to labour and the working man. It falls on the first day of the month that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Pius XII expressed the hope that this feast would accentuate the dignity of labour and would bring a spiritual dimension to labour unions. It is eminently fitting that St. Joseph, a working man who became the foster-father of Christ and patron of the universal Church, should be honoured on this day.


On March 20, 2013, during the Mass for the beginning of his Petrine ministry, Pope Francis asked: “How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly, and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the 12-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care.

“As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.”

Later the pope added: “Caring, protecting, demands goodness; it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, St. Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, capacity for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!”

This is also the year which the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph”. Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. In his Apostolic Letter -Patris corde – the Holy Father highlights “the creative courage” of St. Joseph, which “emerges especially in the way we deal with difficulties.”


May 3rd

Feast of Saint Philip and James, Apostles / Naomh Philib agus Naomh Séamus, Aspail

We celebrate both saints on the same day because their relics were brought to Rome together on the same day in early May. They rest there still, in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles. They are considered two of the favoured witnesses of our Beloved Jesus’ Resurrection. Saints’ Philip and James, bear testimony to us that their Master is truly risen from the dead, that they have seen Him, that they have touched Him, that they have conversed with Him (1 John 1: 1), during these forty days.


May 3rd

World Press Freedom Day / Lá Domhanda Saoirse na Meán Cumarsáide

May 3rd acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.



May 5th

Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice / Naomh Iognáid Rís Beannaithe

Edmund Rice played a significant role during the time period of the French revolution to the First World War. He changed Ireland in many ways as he responded to the community by showing many leadership skills and qualities. He also made an impact on society as he was the leader of the organisation known as the ‘Christian Brothers’.

Edmund Rice had a substantial impact on society because of his organisation and what he believed in. So many people were interested they became willing to follow his ways. In 1835 a community of brothers were established in Gibraltar. Later the brothers began moving on to countries like Australia, New Zealand America, South Africa, and Newfoundland (Study Guide on Edmund Rice, 2014). Although Edmund Rice passed away in 1844 his legacy has lived on for generations and now there are around 2000 brothers, inspired by Edmund Rice, all around the world. These brothers have spread out over 28 different countries (Edmund Rice Businessman Thirsting for Justice, 2014). His organisation since then has changed many people’s lives from all around the world. His organisation provides free education, clothing, and food. He is still remembered today as a leader and role model to many since he and his organisation have done marvellous things for the poor.


May 13th

Our Lady of Fatima / Féile Mhuire Fatima

Today, the 13th day of May, is the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. It was on this day that the Blessed Virgin Mary started her series of apparition to three shepherd children in the small village of Fatima in Portugal in 1917.   Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three Portuguese children–Francisco and Jacinta Marto and their cousin Lucia dos Santos–received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria near Fatima, a city 110  miles north of Lisbon. Mary asked the children to pray the rosary for world peace, for the end of World War I, for sinners, and for the conversion of Russia.

Mary gave the children three secrets. Following the deaths of Francisco and Jacinta in 1919 and 1920 respectively, Lucia revealed the first secret in 1927. It concerned devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The second secret was a vision of hell. When Lucia grew up, she became a Carmelite nun and died in 2005 at the age of 97.

Pope John Paul II directed the Holy See’s Secretary of State to reveal the third secret in 2000; it spoke of a “bishop in white” who was shot by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows into him. Many people linked this vision to the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981. The feast of Our Lady of Fatima was approved by the local bishop in 1930; it was added to the Church’s worldwide calendar in 2002.


May 14th

Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle and Martyr / Féile Naomh Maitias

Saint Matthias’ Story

According to Acts 1:15-26, during the days after the Ascension Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers—about 120 of Jesus’ followers. Now that Judas had betrayed his ministry, it was necessary, Peter said, to fulfil the scriptural recommendation that another should take his office. “Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22).   They nominated two men: Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. They prayed and drew lots. The choice fell upon Matthias, who was added to the Eleven. Matthias is not mentioned by name anywhere else in the New Testament.


May 16th

The Ascension of the Lord / Déardaoin Deascabhála

The Ascension does not mark the end of Jesus’ relationship with His Church but the beginning of a new way of His relating to the world – in and through His Church. This way includes every one of us who now bear His name. When viewed with the eyes of living faith the Ascension can begin to change the way we view ourselves and live our daily lives.

The Ascension invites us to reflect on who Jesus is – and who we are empowered to become in Him, beginning now and opening up into the life to come. He is indeed the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6) The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus helps to explain the Christian vocation and unveils the horizon which opens before us as we continue to live our lives now in this Way called Christianity. (Acts 9:2, 11:26) It points to the ongoing plan of redemption for each of us. It gives us a glimpse of the loving plan of God for the whole of creation. This Feast also points us toward a deeper understanding of the Feast of Pentecost which we will soon celebrate. The very Breath of God, His Holy Spirit, has been breathed into the Body of Christ, the Church – and into each one of us as members of that Body.



May 22nd

St. Rita / Naomh Ríta

Saint Rita of Cascia’s Story

Rita of Cascia was a wife, mother, widow, and member of a religious community. Her holiness was reflected in each phase of her life.

Born at Roccaporena in central Italy, Rita wanted to become a nun but was pressured at a young age into marrying a harsh and cruel man. During her 18-year marriage, she bore and raised two sons. After her husband was killed in a brawl and her sons had died, Rita tried to join the Augustinian nuns in Cascia. Unsuccessful at first because she was a widow, Rita eventually succeeded.

Over the years, her austerity, prayerfulness, and charity became legendary. When she developed wounds on her forehead, people quickly associated them with the wounds from Christ’s crown of thorns. She meditated frequently on Christ’s passion. Her care for the sick nuns was especially loving. She also counselled lay people who came to her monastery.

Beatified in 1626, Rita was not canonized until 1900. She has acquired the reputation, together with Saint Jude, as a saint of impossible cases. Many people visit her tomb each year.



May 23rd

Pentecost Sunday / Domhnach Cincíse

And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak (Acts 2, 1-4).

Today is the birthday of the Church, of all those who have been reborn into His Mystical Body.

How did the first Christians prepare? They were all “in prayer” with Mary; and they were “all of one mind,” under the leadership of Peter, making ready to tell “men from every nation under heaven. . .of the wonderful works of God”. Yes, prayer and action are the marks of the true Christian.

For further info check out this link:


May 27th

St. Augustine of Canterbury / Agaistín Canterbury

St. Augustine was born in Rome and died in Canterbury, England, in 604. When Pope Gregory I heard that the pagans of Britain were disposed to accept the Christian Faith, he sent the prior of St. Andrew, Augustine, and forty of his Benedictine brethren to England. Despite the great difficulties involved in the task assigned to him, Augustine and his monks obeyed. The success of their preaching was immediate. King Ethelbert was baptized on Pentecost Sunday, 596, and the greater part of the nobles and people soon followed his example. St. Augustine died as the first Archbishop of Canterbury.


May 30th

St. Joan of Arc

Saint Joan of Arc’s Story

Burned at the stake as a heretic after a politically motivated trial, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.

Born of a fairly well-to-do peasant couple in Domremy-Greux southeast of Paris, Joan was only 12 when she experienced a vision and heard voices that she later identified as Saints Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch. During the Hundred Years War, Joan led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orléans and Troyes. This enabled Charles VII to be crowned as king in Reims in 1429. Captured near Compiegne the following year, Joan was sold to the English and placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft. Professors at the University of Paris supported Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvis, the judge at her trial; Cardinal Henry Beaufort of Winchester, England, participated in the questioning of Joan in prison. In the end, she was condemned for wearing men’s clothes. The English resented France’s military success–to which Joan contributed.

On this day in 1431, Joan was burned at the stake in Rouen, and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. A second Church trial 25 years later nullified the earlier verdict, which was reached under political pressure.

Remembered by most people for her military exploits, Joan had a great love for the sacraments, which strengthened her compassion toward the poor. Popular devotion to her increased greatly in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I. Theologian George Tavard writes that her life “offers a perfect example of the conjunction of contemplation and action” because her spiritual insight is that there should be a “unity of heaven and earth.”


May 30th

Trinity Sunday

The fundamental dogma, on which everything in Christianity is based, is that of the Blessed Trinity in whose name all Christians are baptized. The feast of the Blessed Trinity needs to be understood and celebrated as a prolongation of the mysteries of Christ and as the solemn expression of our faith in this triune life of the Divine Persons, to which we have been given access by Baptism and by the Redemption won for us by Christ. Only in heaven shall we properly understand what it means, in union with Christ, to share as sons in the very life of God.


May 31st

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Story of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This is a fairly late feast, going back only to the 13th or 14th century. It was established widely throughout the Church to pray for unity. The present date of celebration was set in 1969, in order to follow the Annunciation of the Lord and precede the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.

Like most feasts of Mary, it is closely connected with Jesus and his saving work. The more visible actors in the visitation drama (see Luke 1:39-45) are Mary and Elizabeth. However, Jesus and John the Baptist steal the scene in a hidden way. Jesus makes John leap with joy—the joy of messianic salvation. Elizabeth, in turn, is filled with the Holy Spirit and addresses words of praise to Mary—words that echo down through the ages.

It is helpful to recall that we do not have a journalist’s account of this meeting. Rather Luke, speaking for the Church, gives a prayerful poet’s rendition of the scene. Elizabeth’s praise of Mary as “the mother of my Lord” can be viewed as the earliest Church’s devotion to Mary. As with all authentic devotion to Mary, Elizabeth’s (the Church’s) words first praise God for what God has done to Mary. Only secondly does she praise Mary for trusting God’s words.

Then comes the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). Here, Mary herself—like the Church—traces all her greatness to God.

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Other Dates/Information (Dataí Eile/Eolas):


  • John Magee works in Millstreet CS and created a video with his students to celebrate diversity – It’s called Our School One World – Culture and Diversity in Millstreet Community School.  There are country presentations relating to students in our school and a bit of music that some of the students did with Garry McCarthy (GMC Beats) and Stevie G.  We also got a few contributions from outside the school including Dr Niall Muldoon and the Polish Ambassador to Ireland.  Here’s the Youtube link
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  • Collection of arts resources for May, month of Mary.
  • A fabulous resource from the Diocese of Waterford & Lismore on Sr Clare Crockett.  It is very impressive and would be ideal for 2nd year CBA on Person of Commitment. The first is the resource pack with class rooms questionnaires and the second are answer sheets. It was too big to attach to this email but you can find the resources here