Overview of Liturgical Calendar for May 2023

(click on names below to access further information}

Easter Time






 Monday in the 4ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Saint Joseph the Worker




 Saint Athanasius, bishop and doctor of the Church




 Saint Philip and Saint James, apostles






 Thursday in the 4ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Saint Conleth, bishop






 Friday in the 4ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Blessed Edmund Rice, religious




 Saturday in the 4ᵗʰ Week of Easter




 5ᵗʰ Sunday of Easter




 Monday in the 5ᵗʰ Week of Easter




 Tuesday in the 5ᵗʰ Week of Easter






 Wednesday in the 5ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Saint Comgall, abbot


 Saint John of Avila, priest and doctor of the Church




 Thursday in the 5ᵗʰ Week of Easter






 Friday in the 5ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Saint Nereus and Saint Achilleus, martyrs


 Saint Pancras, martyr






 Saturday in the 5ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Our Lady of Fatima




 6ᵗʰ Sunday of Easter






 Monday in the 6ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Saint Carthage, bishop






 Tuesday in the 6ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Saint Brendan of Clonfert, abbot




 Wednesday in the 6ᵗʰ Week of Easter






 Thursday in the 6ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Saint John I, pope and martyr




 Friday in the 6ᵗʰ Week of Easter






 Saturday in the 6ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Saint Bernardine of Siena, priest




 Ascension of the Lord






 Monday in the 7ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Saint Rita of Cassia, religious




 Tuesday in the 7ᵗʰ Week of Easter




 Wednesday in the 7ᵗʰ Week of Easter






 Thursday in the 7ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Saint Bede the Venerable, priest and doctor of the Church


 Saint Gregory VII, pope


 Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, virgin




 Saint Philip Neri, priest






 Saturday in the 7ᵗʰ Week of Easter


 Saint Augustine of Canterbury, bishop




 Pentecost Sunday

Ordinary Time







 The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church




 Tuesday in the 8ᵗʰ Week in Ordinary Time




 The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary



For church movements and groups
We pray that Church movements and groups may rediscover their mission of evangelisation each
day, placing their own charisms at the service of needs in the world.

Download Small Group Reflection (PDF)

For further info: Click HERE

To watch the Pope’s video for this intention click HERE


A copy of the Popes Intentions for the year for 2023 can be downloaded on PDF  HERE






The World Day of Prayer for Vocations was celebrated on the 30th of April which is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday.  The purpose of this day is to publicly fulfil the Lord’s instruction when he asked us; ‘Pray the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest’ (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2}.  This year a whole year is dedicated to prayer and promotion of the vocation to the diocesan priesthood. The theme of the year is entitled ‘TAKE THE RISK FOR CHRIST’.

Figure 1 Diocese of Ferns Youth Pilgrimage to Medjugorje 2023

Why not have a class on the question of Vocations?  At the recent RE Seminar in Ballyvaloo, our keynote speaker Fr Conor McDonough commenced his speech by recounting what it was like to have a vocation that was unrecognised and unsupported during his school years.  He opened our eyes as to why it is so important to be prepared both for our classes and the questions that are asked.  Recently during our Medjugorje Pilgrimage, one of our teachers stated that Medjugorje ‘provided the space that brought out what was already in them’, this was so powerful a statement as we as adults realised when given the right circumstances our young people respond and in the words of a parent ‘received the perfect medicine’ for this time.


  • For resources on vocations click HERE
  • Diocese of Ferns Vocations Page: Click HERE

Click on the highlighted words to receive 2 excellent lesson plans on Vocations  and Discernment from Ascend Waterford packed with reflections, music, videos, etc.







This video was made at the request of the National Vocations Office, an office within the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, in honour of the Year for Vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood held from April 30, 2023- April 21, 2024. The theme for the year is “Take the Risk for Christ.” (It is also in the above lesson plan with reflection questions). (15 mins)


Fr. James Cullen is one of our own Diocesan Priests based in the parish of Wexford.  He comes from a large faithful Catholic family. Although priesthood was not part of his life plan, he considered joining the seminary somewhere down the line because he believed that God was speaking through the people in his life and circumstances and calling him to be His priest. Fr. James briefly shares the stages of discernment he went through before becoming a diocesan priest. Here’s the story of his vocation. (23 mins)


Diocese of Ferns Prayer for Vocations

God our Father, we trust in your loving kindness.

Bless our Diocese of Ferns with many priestly and religious vocations.

Give the ment and women you call the light to understand your gift and

The love to follow always in the footsteps of your Son. Amen


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

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. For more information just click HERE


A short Powerpoint (7 slides) on the why May is dedicated to Our Lady.

Check around your school, are there any statues of Our Lady inside or outside the school.  Why not engage some of your classes to bring flowers and decorate the Statue.  Some of your Pope John Paul II participants could claim an hour to do this and keep the flowers watered each week.




The Diocese of Ferns Youth Pilgrimage to Medjugorje took place from the 19th to the 25th of April and proved to be an extraordinary experience by all those who went. The pilgrimage will take place each year a week after Divine Mercy Sunday and is open to 20 TY students and their teachers.

Medjugorje is a small hamlet in Bosnia-Hercegovina where on June 24, 1981, 6 children began having daily conversation with the Blessed Virgin Mary. As of June 25, 2021, the Virgin Mary still appears daily to three of the original 6 visionaries.  The Pilgrimage Organiser is Colette O’Doherty and the Pilgrimage Chaplain is Fr James Cullen.

Students must be accompanied by their teacher and all schools are encouraged to fundraise during the year to reduce the costs for parents.  One teacher at the end of the pilgrimage stated ‘This was the best experience of my life!’.  Parents and students after the trip were so appreciative with many texts and emails of thanks being sent into the Diocese.  Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity next year and start planning now!


Each year students from each school are invited to join the Diocese on their pilgrimage to Lourdes The Diocese of Ferns Lourdes Pilgrimage takes place from the 16th to the 23rd May 2023, led by the Bishop of Ferns, Most Rev Ger Nash.
During and since Covid, the youth section has not travelled but next year we would hope the opportunity for young students will be available once again.  The Pilgrimage Organiser and Chaplain to the Youth is Fr Aodhan Marken.


Next year for the first time a bus will be arranged to bring all JPII’s to Knock.  The POPE JOHN PAUL II AWARD YOUTH PILGRIMAGE TO KNOCK SHRINE normally takes place in late March, starting at 11.00am and concluding with Mass at 2.30pm. 

There are some exciting activities and special guests normally arranged for the day. Young people in attendance will be encouraged to participate – singers, musicians, readers, stewards, prompters and audience warm-ups. 

May 1st: Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker


Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker / Naomh Iosef, Oibrí

Normally the 1st of May is the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, however as it co-incides with the 3rd Sunday of Easter that feast day takes precedence.  With that in mind it is good to know that normally this feast day is 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.

 Did you know that St Joseph is recognised as the carpenter behind the Miracle Stairs?

 Click here to launch the slideshow

The staircase of Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico is well known for at least two mysteries: the identity of its builder and the physics of its structure.

No one is able to fully understand how the structure can stand on its feet without any kind of central support attached to it. It is indeed an architectonical marvel, in that sense. There is, maybe, a third mystery, too: although the staircase is known to be made of spruce wood, no one has been able to determine either what subspecies of spruce it is, or even how the wood got to the chapel.

  • For further information on why there are two feast days for St Joseph just click HERE
  • Dublin Diocese also provide some useful information on St Joseph and you can find it HERE
  • A short video (1.30mins) can be found here to show the stairs more clearly CLICK HERE

 May 3rd: Feast of St Philip & James, Apostles

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.   More information on the Saints can be source HERE

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.

  • For further information check out : https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/worldpressfreedomday
  • Sometimes to receive more information on a chosen topic readers chose alternative methods of media such as Church in Chains in relation to Persecuted Christians a topic which may not receive attention by national/local/international media. Find out more about Church in Chains click HERE
  • Video Message by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on World Press Freedom Day (3 May) 2023 click HERE

May 5th

Bless 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 substantia 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.

  • For further information please check: HERE
  • Check out information on the Edmund Rice Global Network HERE

The Oceania Province of the Christian Brothers brings to life their founder, Blessed Edmund Rice who invites people to “dare” to make a difference in today’s world. www.edmundrice.org (6 min video)


Click HERE   for a lovely lesson plan on Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice by Ascend Waterford detailing his history, some reflection questions, videos and game.

May 13th: Feast of 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 apparitions 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.

  • For further information from Franciscan Media CLICK HERE  
  • An article on how Fatima is relevant today can be sourced HERE. However this is just one of many articles who find that Fatima is relevant today more than ever.
  • A documentary on the apparitions can be viewed HERE which is 28 minutes long with actual pictures.


A lovely 1 page PDF on the prayers Our Lady taught the children of Fatima along with links to various organisations can be downloaded HERE


Pope consecrates Russia & Ukraine: ‘Spiritual act of trust amid cruel war’

In response to the war in Ukraine and at the request of the Blessed Virgin Mary made in an apparition at Fatima on 13th of July 1917, the Pope’s renewed the Consecration of all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in March 2022.

Pope Francis presided over the annual “24 Hours for the Lord” Lenten penitential service in St. Peter’s Basilica on Friday evening, as the Church marked the feast of the Annunciation.

Toward the end of the liturgy, the Pope prayed the Act of Consecration of humanity, especially of Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

He prayed the Act in communion with all Catholic Bishops across the globe, as the Papal Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, did the same at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, in Portugal.

  • To read more about the Consecration just click HERE
  • The Act of Consecration can be viewed HERE


May 14th Feast of St Matthias, Apostle & 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 15th International Day of Families

2023 Theme: Demographic Trends and Families

 This day aims to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic, and demographic processes affecting families.

On September 25, 2015, the 193 member countries of the United Nations consistently adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 goals intending to eliminate poverty, discrimination, abuse, and preventable deaths, address environmental destruction, and usher in an era of development for all people, everywhere. Families and family-oriented policies and programs are vital for the achievement of many of these goals.

 ‘International Day of Families is a time to celebrate the generosity and goodness displayed in families, and the resilience that finds life in the most unfavourable circumstances. It is also a day to ask how as a society we can best to accompany families as they prepare children for a full and generous life.’ Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ writes for Jesuit Communications and Jesuit Social Service

  • Why not write up a few ideas of what our young people could do as a task for their family as follows: play a board game, cook a meal for the family, organise a walk together, garden together put them all in a bag and each person picks one out and puts in back in the bag again for the next person to pick out. OR
  • You could ask each person in the class to write up an idea of a family activity and put them all in a bag and each person has to pick one out as an idea for a family activity or they choose their own.

This is a great opportunity to run the Little Acts, Big Difference sessions which shows the resilience of families who with the help of Mary’s Meals help feed their children every day! Click HERE to receive  a teacher guide, with six lesson plans,

complementary resources containing excerpts from the bestselling book The Shed Th.at Fed A Million Children and a Certificate to present to those who complete the programme. (The pic shows the Medjugorje 23 Pilgrimage visit to Mary’s Meals office to learn all about their lifesaving work). 

May 21st : The Ascension of Our Lord

 Traditionally the Ascension of Our Lord was held 40 days after Easter, falling on a Thursday. However in most dioceses, the observance of the Solemnity of the Ascension is moved to the following Sunday, superseding the 7th Sunday of Easter.

A wonderful depiction of the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven in a 1.30min video can be viewed by clicking on the picture,  it is quite powerful!

Mass Readings for the Ascension of the Lord First Reading – Acts 1:1-11: “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

  • Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 47: “God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.”
  • Second Reading – Ephesians 1:17-23: “And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.”
  • Alternate Second Reading – Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23: “Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf.”
  • Gospel – Luke 24:46-53: “As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.”

Themes for the Ascension of the Lord

The readings for the The Ascension of the Lord encourage us to be witnesses for Jesus Christ, just as the early Christians were. In the first reading the ascension of Jesus is recounted and the Apostles are told they will receive the Holy Spirit. In the second reading we hear that Jesus Christ rules heaven and earth. In the alternate second reading we learn that Jesus Christ died for all people. And in the gospel, after Jesus ascends to heaven, the disciples can be found in the temple praising God.

  • Evangelism
  • Going out to the world
  • Getting out of our comfort zones

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the Ascension of the Lord.

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.

  • For more information and resources from Young Catholics click HERE
  • For more information on this feast day just click HERE

The Ascension as found in the Acts of the Apostles, recounts the event of Jesus ascending to the heavenly temple. And Luke mentions that the ascension happens 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection. Why does Luke mention this and what is the significance of the number 40, especially for the Ascension of Jesus? Check out this 3 min video with Dr. Brant Pitre for an excellent and interesting explanation.

May 20th : World Bee Day

 Under the theme “Bee engaged in pollinator-friendly agricultural production”, World Bee Day 2023 calls for global action to support pollinator-friendly agricultural production and highlights the importance of protecting bees and other pollinators, particularly through evidence-based agricultural production practices.

The global World Bee Day ceremony, which will be held in hybrid format at the FAO headquarters on Friday, 19 May, will be an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of adopting pollinator-friendly agricultural production practices to protect bees and other pollinators, while contributing to the resilience, sustainability and efficiency of agrifood systems.

Join the event http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/6137/icode/

Click on the picture to watch a lovely gentle youtube video (2 mins) entitled ‘If we look after bees, they will look after us’.  Let’s celebrate these amazing creatures. To discover 10 easy ways that you can help the bees click here: https://www.honeyflow.com/resources/s…

May 22nd Feast Day of St Rita/ Naomh Rita

 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.

  • For further information check out : HERE   

An 8 minute video of the Life of Saint Rita of Cascia

 For an 13 min animated version of St Rita’s story more suited to 1st years click HERE

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.

  • For further info check this LINK

May 29th : The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

 Pope Francis has decreed that Latin-rite Catholics around the world will mark the feast of “the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church” on the Monday after Pentecost each year.

The Gospel reading for the feast, which technically is called a “memorial,” is John 19:25-31, which recounts how from the cross Jesus entrusted Mary to his disciples as their mother and entrusted his disciples to Mary as her children.

Pope Francis approved the decree after “having attentively considered how greatly the promotion of this devotion might encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety,” the decree said.

The church calendars of Poland, Argentina, St. Peter’s Basilica and some religious orders already set aside the Monday after Pentecost as the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church.

Honoring Mary as mother of the church on the day after Pentecost also highlights for Catholics that Mary was present with the disciples on Pentecost, praying with them as the Holy Spirit descended. Cardinal Sarah said that Mary, “from the awaiting of the Spirit at Pentecost, has never ceased to take motherly care of the pilgrim church on earth.”

  • The above was sourced HERE
  • A short video (2.39min) by Rome Reports provides the background to the installation of this feast day and what it means, view it HERE

A short Powerpoint (7 slides) on Mary Mother of the Church

 May 28th: Pentacost Sunday

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).

 Pentecost Sunday marks the end of the Easter Season.  Pentecost (Whitsunday), with Christmas and Easter, ranks among the great feasts of Christianity. It commemorates not only the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Disciples, but also the fruits and effects of that event: the completion of the work of redemption, the fullness of grace for the Church and its children, and the gift of faith for all nations. 

Today was the day chosen for the opening of this mission of the Apostles. That they were backed by the divine power of the Holy Spirit was proved, not only by the gift of tongues but more especially by the change his coming wrought on the Apostles. From this day forward they were men dedicated to one purpose and to one purpose only, to bring the good news, the Gospel of Christ, to the world.For much more information on Pentacost Sunday and it’s history click HERE


Click on the picture to view a 2 min depiction of the descent of the Holy Spirit. Powerful scene!

Click HERE for another great lesson plan from Asend all about Pentacost, it is bursting with reflections, questions, songs and videos.  This one is ideal for 1st and 2nd years.

May 30th: St Joan of Arc Feast Day

 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.”


  • To find out more check out this link: HERE
  • For an animation of the story of Joan of Arc click HERE (some of the film clips are too graphic I think!)

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.  For further info check : HERE


Just click on the image for a 4 minute video on The Visitation.

“In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”‘ (Lk 1:39-42).

          The opening words of Elizabeth to Mary are the opening words of the Hail Mary.  One of the daily routines of our pilgrimage to Medjugorje recently with our 20 TY students was the Rosary.  We prayed it throughout the day, walking through the vineyards, climbing mountains, going on bus journeys.  By the end of the week, the young people found that as a prayer it was very calming and soothing and for some, they felt it was a prayer they wished to continue when they arrived home. 

As we conclude May the month of Mary and we embark onto our Summer Holidays, we pray for all those doing exams and we call on Mary to help calm and support them.

Hail Mary,

Full of Grace,

The Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou among women,

And blessed is the fruit of thy

Womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary,

Mother of God,

Pray for us sinners,

Now, and at the hour of our death,