Fr. Michael says………………………….
The month of May holds a few great feast days for us to celebrate as Catholics:
On May 2nd, we remembered St. Athanasius. Athanasius was the bishop of Alexandria in Egypt at a time when the heresy of Arianism was gaining strength. Arianism states that, while Jesus can be called the Son of God, He is not one with the Father - simply stated, there was a time when the Son did not exist.
Athanasius was present at the Council of Nicaea when the truth faith was summarized in the Nicene Creed and spent his life defending the divinity of Christ. He was exiled multiple times, but never ceased to proclaim Jesus’ true divinity.
May 3rd is the feast of the apostles, Philip and James. Like many of the other apostles, all we know about these two men are the brief mentions in the New Testament as well as traditions passed down through history.
We know that they spent the rest of their lives sharing the story of Jesus and welcoming others into the life of the Church.
Another apostle, St. Mathias, is celebrated on May 14th. Mathias was the man chosen by lot to take the place of Judas among the apostles. Acts 1 is the only place in the New Testament where he is mentioned.
St. Philip Neri, whose feast day falls on May 26th, spent part of his life ministering as a layperson, was eventually ordained a priest, and then founded the religious community of the Oratory. St. Philip’s energy, sense of humor, and personal holiness brought many people back to the Church in a time of corruption.
May 30th is the feast day of one of my favorite saints, Joan of Arc. As FranciscanMedia.org says:
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.
Finally, May 31st is the feast of the Visitation of Mary. On this day, we commemorate Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth and the reaction Elizabeth (and John the Baptist in her womb) identify the coming of the Messiah and His mother. In this story, Mary proclaims the Magnificat, her hymn of praise to God for bringing His salvation into the world.