Mary, Mother of the Church: a New Feast Day! (Plus Other May Feast Days and . . . My Book Cover!)

by | May 8, 2018 | Liturgical Year, My Book, Saints | 21 comments

When I did my reader survey, the one thing you guys asked for above all other things was that I give you some advance warning for feast days. The problem with that is that my personal liturgical living style is mostly getting a reminder on my phone at 9am, realizing that it’s a feast day I like, and deciding I’ll swing by Aldi to pick something up. #itshowiroll So I’m not making any promises that this is going to happen regularly or anything, but there are some great feasts this month, and I want to give you some notice. (All of this will, of course, be in the Catholic All Year Compendium when it comes out this fall, yay! You’ll be able to plan ahead with impunity. If you can make it to the end, there’s an exciting reveal down there. 😀)

MAY 9: First up, Wednesday May 9 is the feast of St. Louise de Marillac. This is noteworthy because it was on March 15th until two years ago. In our house, it’s Lulu’s nameday, so she gets to pick what we have for dinner, as part of our Three Special Days.


I’m not aware of any traditional celebrations for her feast day, but I was reading through her last will and testament recently (like you do), and loved the fact that from her sickbed, Louise added a new bequest: that her only grandchild, Louise Renee (her five year old namesake), might invite the poor of her parish to an annual dinner and serve them herself as guests, using funds left to her in the will. Our Lulu is four, so maybe that for next year.

MAY 10 or 13: Next comes the Ascension, which is observed on its traditional Thursday date in some places in the world including the Vatican, and (newly back this year!) in England and Wales, and in the U.S. ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia. For the rest of us the observation is moved to Sunday May 13th (which this year is also Mother’s Day).

Our traditional meal is popovers. They have simple ingredients, and are easy to make (I whip them up in my giant purple blender) and they work in “real” popover pans (for BIG ones), or regular muffin tins (for little ones). But they rise up quite impressively before your very eyes int he oven, making them especially fun for the day. This is the recipe I use.

MAY 20: The next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the end of the Easter season and the birthday of the Church! The Vigil of Pentecost is a recommended day of fasting and abstinence, as are the Spring Ember Days, which fall on the following Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Oh, and the Monday, Tuesday (as in today), and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday are the Minor Rogation Days, and are traditionally observed as days of abstinence from meat. For more on all that see this post:


MAY 21: On my liturgical year wall calendar (newly marked down on Etsy and on Lulu with free shipping using SHIPIT2018) the day after Pentecost is the feast of the Mexican Martyrs. And it IS. Usually we have some tacos and margaritas and Mexi-cokes, which are the very best cokes around, and celebrate Mexican culture on a day that’s completely free of problematic anti-Catholic freemason ties.
Not on the calendar, because it wasn’t a thing until March of 2018, is the NEWEST feast on the universal liturgical calendar: the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. 
I love this image, from the little Baltimore First Communion Catechism I’m using with first communicant number six this year. The ladder is the sacraments, it leans on the Church, and Mary helps us to climb each rung up to the Holy Trinity waiting for us in heaven!
It will be observed each year on the Monday following Pentecost, which, this year, is May 21st. Both feasts rank as memorials, and neither bumps the other. So we can celebrate either or both as we choose.
Pope Francis, through Card. Sarah and the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, expressed the wish that the celebration of this new feast day would help all of us grow in devotion to Jesus and Mary.

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, Pope Francis has decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, should be inscribed in the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost and be now celebrated every year.This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer,the Virgin who makes her offering to God.

The idea was to place the feast on the day after Pentecost, to highlight the Mary’s role among the apostles present at the Descent of the Holy Spirit, and at the birth of the Church. Pretty cool.
Since it’s all new, it’s up to us to figure out a way to celebrate it. I’m thinking Mass, a Rosary, and a homey meal of traditional mom-type foods like meatloaf, and apple pie. And margaritas, because Mexican martyrs.
Oh, and Katie from Look to Him and be Radiant created a very cute printable craft for the day. Check that out here.
MAY 22: Next up is St. Rita, patroness of impossible causes, difficult marriages, and baseball! Hot Dogs, more margaRITAs, and a game of baseball and/or a screening of the Rookie are our go tos for the day.
MAY 27: Then comes Trinity Sunday. I like to spend the day avoiding heresies about the Holy Trinity . . . 
And for dinner, until I can manage a turducken, I like to make three meat chili and cloverleaf rolls. These can be made from scratch, or with premade pizza dough.
MAY 30: The feast day of my adopted patroness, St. Joan of Arc! First order of business is to see if Zendaya will let me borrow her gown from the Met Gala. It is STUNNING! See more here
These two dresses were my most and least favorite of the red carpet. And I enjoyed this take on the event.
Anyway, for the day, I MUST have a croque madame: an amazing grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. Don’t ask questions, just make one! It’s completely delicious, and the name translates to “crispy lady.” If you know me, you know I’m totally there for that.
MAY 31: Finally, on the last day of the Month of Mary, we celebrate the Visitation. It’s the day we remember Mary (who was herself expecting) traveling to meet her cousin Elizabeth and help her until baby St. John the Baptist was born. We like to recite the Magnificat, as it’s the exclamation of Mary to Elizabeth at the Visitation. From right there in the Bible. I use the day to make a few casserole-type dishes to bring to friends who are expecting or have new babies. 
And now, so fun, I can exclusively reveal to you the cover of my book, created by the lovely and talented Tricia Dugat of Providential Co. . . . 
What do you think? 😊Do you like it? Does it give off a fun/retro/soothing/you can do this vibe? That’s what we were going for.
And let me know if you’ve got any celebration ideas for the new feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. I did get it added to the book in the last round of edits, but I’ll have one last crack at making changes after it gets formatted and before it goes to the printer in August!


  1. Amanda

    Ooooh, book cover! And new feast day!

    St Joan is also my patron saint (and good job to her because I did not give that much thought at confirmation but she comes through for me!) and I make creme brûlée. With a tiny blow torch. I think you should try, it seems right up your alley.

    • Kendra

      Creme brûlée is my FAVORITE, but I’ve never attempted it at home. Maybe this is the year!

  2. Anne

    I second the Creme brulee. I was a little stunned to find the sign in Rouen last fall which I could read even with my bad French, basically: Ici Jeanne d'arc brulee.

  3. Anne

    I think I need to revisit my simple kitchen plan for the next two months. Our Packers arrive Friday to ship 95% of our household goods back to the States for the move this summer. I planned on using the grill and a pan or two, but now I see I need more to celebrate the right way 🙂 thank you for this! I'm trying to pace myself in adding feasts to our calendar.

    • Kendra

      Yes. Baby steps is the way to go for sure. Good luck with your move!

  4. mel

    I love the cover! I seriously can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I'm not coming up with any brilliant ideas for the new feast day… maybe do something nice for your own church? Something motherly? Like volunteer to clean or weed the flower beds or bring cookies to the parish staff? I don't know, that's all I got, LOL

  5. Custodians of Beauty

    That book cover is fantastic! Love the retro/you can do this vibe coming through. I've enjoyed seeing the candle designs by Providential Co. They are amazin! Good luck with the last edits! I'm looking forward to reading your new book.

    • Kendra

      Yes! I first saw her candles on Instagram and I just love her style.

  6. Kati

    Wait WHY did they move St. Louise's Feast Day? We already celebrated it for our Louise…do I celebrate it again? Will all the other children want double name days now? Why the Church gotta stress me out like this? (haha. Just kidding. I do wonder why they moved it though, do you know?)

  7. Erin

    I dig the cover, but why is your name in such small font? I feel like you put so much into writing this book, your name should be more visible. And thanks for the heads up on the upcoming feast days…Maybe this will be the year that we finally remember St Joan of Arc's feast day, possibly with crepes. As a last-minute "planner" myself, I appreciate you giving us readers this advance notice!

  8. Lua Nova

    Isn't May 31st Corpus Christi? Which is a Solemnity, so it takes precedence. I thought Visitation wouldn't be celebrated this year.

    • Kendra

      In the US, Corpus Christi is observed on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday. This year that’s June 3rd.

  9. Unknown

    I’d love to be entered in the Rosary and Stations books giveaway! Not sure where to do that?!

  10. Charles Schwartz

    Mary Mother of the Church is not a NEW Feast – -it's a new OBLIGATORY feast. It's been in the sacramentary for a long time .

  11. Amy S.

    Maybe some kind of multinational or multicultural celebration for Mary, Mother of the Church? To remind us all that the Church is universal and crosses all cultural lines? And that Mary is Mother to us all, no matter our skin color or nationality? You could have kids research a particular foreign diocese and…eat food from there? ORRRRR you could get REAL BIBLE CRAZY and look at Mary's Jewish heritage juxtaposed with how she became a Mother to all of us, even gentiles? Then play "Mother May I" because the kids need lessons in obedience as well as liturgical living amiright?!?!?!

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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