Getting to know May’s Marian feasts

May 14, 2024

Parishioners of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Galena Park carry a statue of Our Lady of Fatima nearly three miles during a procession honoring the centennial anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in 2017. (Photo by James Ramos/Herald)

The Catholic Church has dedicated numerous feast days throughout the year to events in the life of Mary and her various titles. Let’s take a look at some of the feasts of Mary in the month of May.

May 13: Feast of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Mary was called Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament by St. Peter Julian Eymard in 1868. In 1905, St. Pius X granted an indulgence to those who prayed to Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Vatican in 1921 designated May 13 as her feast day, though the celebration is not on the Church’s universal calendar.

May 13: Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

This feast commemorates the first of six apparitions of Mary to three shepherd children at Fatima in Portugal on May 13, 1917. The feast has become a cultural celebration for Portuguese Catholics around the world and is celebrated in many parishes throughout the United States, often with a procession through the streets surrounding the Church.

May 24: Feast of Mary, Help of Christians

After praying to Mary for his safe release from captivity when taken prisoner by the French, Pope Pius VII instituted this feast day in 1815. The feast venerates Mary for her intercession on behalf of those who pray to her. Many Catholics will traditionally mark this day by performing their own charitable deeds to help others in need.

May 31: Feast of the Visitation

Originally celebrated in July, the feast of the Visitation marks Luke’s Gospel account of Mary, having been told by the Angel Gabriel that she would bear the son of God, visiting her cousin Elizabeth. The feast, which originated in the 13th century, was transferred to its current date in 1969 after the feast of the Queenship of Mary, previously celebrated on May 31, was moved to Aug. 22 to follow the feast of the Assumption.