May 4 is the Seventh Sunday of Easter. May 1 is Ascension Thursday, a holy day of obligation. In Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, May 4 is Ascension Sunday.
EPriest.com offers best practices from parishes.
From Holy Spirit Catholic Church in the Arlington (Va.) Diocese comes an idea just right for Mary’s month, the month of May.
Father James Searby, founder of Fiat, says in the program, “Girls are actively listening for the voice of God.”
One pre-teen participant added, “I really like doing adoration because it’s really cool to be able to go there. ... We can talk to Jesus right in front of us and not worry about if he’s listening.”
Besides the scheduled prayer times the girls (grades 5 to 12) meet twice a month as a group.
One meeting is a Bible study. The other is dedicated to a charitable work they perform, a talk by someone on how they can come to understand and live their faith more deeply, or a fun and exciting cultural activity. Find more details on the site.
Click “About Mary,” then “Marian Prayers,” then “novenas.”
This year, May 1 has a double meaning. Usually, it is a day to kick off Mary’s month with a May crowning, bringing flowers to church or praying a special Rosary. In 2008, it’s also Ascension Thursday, a day that kicks off the original novena: nine days of prayer until Pentecost.
So why not give this year’s novena a Marian dimension? During the nine days of prayer before Pentecost, the apostles gathered around Mary. So pray the novena to Mary, Queen of the Apostles, to prepare for Pentecost this year.
You can read the following Catechism numbers on each day of the Novena:
Day 1: No. 437 — Gabriel tells Joseph about Mary and the Holy Spirit.
Day 2: No. 495 — Elizabeth speaks of the Holy Spirit.
Day 3: No. 695 — The Holy Spirit prompts Simeon.
Day 4: No. 721 — Gabriel prepares Mary for her encounter with the Holy Spirit.
Day 5: No. 722 — Mary is made “full of grace.”
Day 6: No. 723 — The Holy Spirit acts in Mary.
Day 7: No. 724 — With Mary’s joyful cooperation, the Holy Spirit “makes the Word visible in the humility of his flesh.”
Day 8: No. 725 — The Holy Spirit draws souls to Christ through Mary.
Day 9: No. 726 — Mary joins the apostles praying for the Holy Spirit’s descent.
Acts 1:12-14, Psalm 27:1, 4, 7-8; 1 Peter 4:13-16; John 17:1-11
Epriest.com offers free homily packs for priests.
The Ascension-day reading is one of the most powerful of the year. You can go line by line through the great commission and learn the basics.
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Christ here reaffirms that he is indeed divine, and makes an oblique reference to the Trinity. To whom else is all power on heaven and earth given? Only God.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations …”
Not “Go therefore and lead a moral life,” as important as that is. Not, “Go therefore and build a community with like-minded friends,” though that, too, is important. But “Go and widen this circle of faith.”
“Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …”
Here he reaffirms the sacraments as crucial to the Christian message.
“… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Not “teaching them to be basically nice.”
“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
Here, we see a beautiful reference to the Eucharist, if we have ears to hear!
Where else can we actually experience his presence?
The Hoopeses are editorial directors
of Faith & Family magazine