Sts. Philip and James, apostles (May 3)

Ascension of the Lord

Movable observance held 40 days after Easter, holy day of obligation, solemnity. Commemorates the Ascension of Christ into heaven 40 days after his Resurrection from the dead (Mk. 16:19; Lk. 24:51; Acts 1:2). The feast recalls the completion of Christ’s mission on earth for the salvation of all people and his entry into heaven with glorified human nature. The Ascension is a pledge of the final glorification of all who achieve salvation. Documentary evidence of the feast dates from early in the fifth century, but it was observed long before that time in connection with Pentecost and Easter.

Celebrated on May 14, 2015

St. Matthias

(d. first century) Apostle chosen to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:21-26). Little is known of his missionary labors, but tradition states that he preached in Judaea (modern Israel), Cappadocia, and on the shores of the Caspian Sea. He was stoned to death in Jerusalem and then martyred at Colchis or at Sebastopolis. St. Helen brought his relics to Rome, and some were transferred to Trier, Germany. He is credited with a Gospel and other discourses that have not been historically confirmed.

Feast day: May 14

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Commemorates Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth after the Annunciation and before the birth of John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ (Lk. 1:39-47). The feast had a medieval origin and was observed in the Franciscan Order before being extended throughout the Church by Urban VI in 1389. It is one of the feasts of the Incarnation and is notable for its recall of the Magnificat, one of the few New Testament canticles, which acknowledges the unique gifts of God to Mary because of her role in the redemptive work of Christ. The canticle is recited at Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours.

Feast day: May 31

For further reading, check out The Saints Devotional Bible.