Blog/Faith How to Celebrate Marian Feast Days by Laurie Medina My family has a longstanding relationship with Our Lady, and I was raised to have a particular devotion to her. My maternal grandmother, my Abuela, was born on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima (May 13th), and had a strong devotion to Our Lady. When she was pregnant with my mom, she had a vivid dream of Our Lady surrounded by laughing children. In the dream, she saw a little girl with long, dark hair and a freckled face seated in the lap of Our Lady, no more than two years old. The little girl left Our Lady’s side and ran up to her, embracing her around the waist. She awoke, and at the same time, her husband was stirred from his sleep. He had dreamt the same thing. That little girl, their first and only daughter, was born on February 11th – the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, and Milagro de Lourdes became her middle name. She grew up to look exactly as my Abuela had envisioned in her dream, freckles and all. Decades later, here I am, and her little milagro is my mother. I tell you this tiny glimpse into my family’s history, not to brag or to glorify myself (although how COOL is that story?!), but to illustrate the closeness that Our Lady desires to have with each of us. She desires to be a Mother to you and guide you ever closer to her Son, Jesus! And she deserves to be honored and celebrated… So it’s a good thing we love a good feast day in the Church! Did you know that the month of May is dedicated to Our Lady? It’s true! The Church gives special honor to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the month of May. And of course, there are many Marian feasts throughout the year, but how often do we actually pause to reflect upon these Catholic traditions of ours? Do we actually celebrate Our Lady in a way that honors and upholds her dignity as the Mother of God and Queen of Heaven? Here are several ways you can celebrate Our Lady’s patronage of the Church on any Marian feast of the year. Matching with Mama Want to imitate Our Lady and look good while doing it? Opt to wear blue! Or throw on a nice Marian bandana or a pair of Mary-themed socks, or wear your favorite Marian graphic tee – there are so many options! Bonus points for wearing a mantle covered in stars around town for the day. Do it… I dare you! Call Upon Her Name Undoubtedly the best way to celebrate and honor Mother Mary is to call upon her name. Praying the Rosary, learning and singing a Marian Hymn (Regina Caeli or the Salve Regina are two of my favorites), going to Mass, or praying upon the Stations of the Cross from Mary’s perspective…These are all beautiful ways to call upon the Blessed Mother and ask for her intercession in your life! If you already have a relationship with Our Lady or want to go deeper, prepare for a Marian Consecration (an act of giving yourself completely to Jesus through Mary’s intercession) and choose a feast day to claim as your own special feast to share with Our Lady. Throw a Party Last year, on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary (a.k.a. Mom’s Birthday), my roommates and I put together a little Marian-themed birthday party! There was a Marian-themed cake with blue candles, blue and white balloons… the works. We even played a little Marian trivia game in which we tested our knowledge of Marian apparitions (can you tell we study Theology?). It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but it can be super fun! If you want to go all out, there are beautiful party decorations out there to really tie it all together. Honor Your Earthly Mama Another way to honor your Heavenly Mother is to show your earthly Mama some love! Take her out to lunch, give her a call, send her flowers… show her you care about her and that you are praying for her! Remember her on a Marian feast day by having a Mass offered for her intentions, or lighting a candle in your local parish Church, asking Mother Mary to intercede for your mom! Visit a Marian Shrine You may not be able to jet off to Lourdes or Mexico City, or Rome, but you can still go on a pilgrimage! If you’re able to, plan a mini-pilgrimage to a local or nearby Marian Shrine. Even if it’s simply planning to visit a parish dedicated to Our Lady anywhere in your area or doing some research to find a special place to visit on a Marian feast, pilgrimages are a beautiful way to become closer to God. They can be done in any way you’re able. Pick a place, plan your day, take a good spiritual read and a Bible with you, lay an offering (like a bouquet of flowers or a small gift) at the feet of Our Lady, and enjoy a day of rest and prayer. Do your own May Crowning There’s a beautiful tradition in the Church to crown a statue of Our Lady during the month of May. Chances are, a local parish near you has a May Crowning ceremony this month! You can make your own beautiful flower crown and adorn an image of her you have in your home, or simply create a little prayer shrine in your room with an image of our Lady and keep fresh flowers there to honor her as the Queen of Heaven. Have you ever honored Our Lady in these ways? If not, what are you waiting for? This month, we have a beautiful opportunity to share our love for the Blessed Mother and recall how she wants to lead us in relationship with her Son. How wonderful is it that we have a friend in the Mother of Jesus? Stay close to her and honor her by imitating her virtues, and surely, your reward will be great in Heaven! Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.