33 Days to Morning Glory
Michael Gaitley, MIC


1 True Devotion to Mary, trans. Frederick W. Faber (Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1985), n. 55. See also nn. 152-168.

2 English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Modifications from the Editio Typica. Copyright © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, n. 2701 ff.

3 Address to the de Montfort Fathers, cited in True Devotion, p. vi.

4 Ibid., n. 114.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid., n. 47.

7 Ibid., n. 177.

8 Mary's specially appointed task in the work of salvation does not in any way detract from Christ as the one who perfectly completes this work in himself. That Christ shares this work with Mary (and all of us) shows forth its greatness. Thus, the Catechism (citing the Second Vatican Council document, Lumen Gentium 60, 62) states:
Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes [the] unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men ... flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it. ... No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source (970).

9 Eddie Doherty, Wisdom's Fool: A Biography of St. Louis de Montfort (Bay Shore, NY: Montfort Publications, 1993), p. 31.

10 The Jansenist heresy was very strict and legalistic. It was fixated on our sinfulness and not mercy. According to the Jansenists, one has to be perfect and clean even to think of approaching Jesus, and one has to earn God's love. They didn't like St. Louis de Montfort because of the way he emphasized the mercy of God, especially as it's given to us through Mary. The Jansenists didn't like to think about the mercy of God. They wanted people always to fear God and only think of his justice.

11 Battista Cortinovis, SMM, "Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort," n.d., http://www.3op.org/stlouis.php (accessed October 10, 2011).

12 True Devotion, N. 198.

13 Ibid., n. 52.

14 Ibid., n. 121.

15 Ibid., n. 198.

16 Ibid., n. 147.

17 See Ibid., n. 132, which reads: [I]t is not credible that our parents, friends, and benefactors should suffer from the fact of our being devoted and consecrated without exception to the service of Our Lord and His holy Mother. To think this would be to think unworthily of the goodness and power of Jesus and Mary, who know well how to assist our parents, friends, and benefactors out of our own little spiritual revenue or by other ways. This practice does not hinder us from praying for others, whether dead or living, although the application of our good works depends on the will of our Blessed Lady. On the contrary, it is this very thing which will lead us to pray with more confidence; just as a rich person who has given all his wealth to his prince in order to honor him the more, would beg the prince all the more confidently to give an alms to one of his friends who should ask for it. It would even be a source of pleasure to the prince to be given an occasion of proving his gratitude toward a person who had stripped himself to clothe him, and impoverished himself to honor him. We must say the same of our Blessed Lord and of Our Lady. They will never let themselves be outdone in gratitude.

18 Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (Stockbridge: Marian Press, 1987), n. 605. The passage reads: O Holy Trinity, Eternal God, I thank You for allowing me to know the greatness and the various degrees of glory to which souls attain. Oh, what a great difference of depth in the knowledge of God there is between one degree and another! Oh, if people could only know this! O my God, if I were thereby able to attain one more degree, I would gladly suffer all the torments of the martyrs put together. Truly, all those torments seem as nothing to me compared with the glory that is awaiting us for all eternity.

19 True Devotion, n. 144. Also, it's interesting to read n. 28 in this context: "In the Heavens Mary commands the angels and the blessed. As a recompense for her profound humility, God has empowered her and commissioned her to fill with saints the empty thrones from which the apostate angels fell by pride."

20 Ibid., n. 133.

21 Ibid., n. 82.

22 Ibid., n. 154. See also n. 152: We do find, it is true, great battles to fight, and great hardships to master; but that good Mother makes herself so present and so near to her faithful servants, to enlighten them in their darkness and their doubts, to strengthen them in their fears, and to sustain them in their struggles and their difficulties, that in truth this virginal path to find Jesus Christ is a path of roses and honey compared with the other paths.

23 Ibid., n. 155.

24 Ibid., n. 122.

25 Ibid., n. 208.

26 See Ibid., n. 218-219, which reads: How many devout souls do I see who seek Jesus Christ, some by one way or by one practice, and others by other ways and other practices; and oftentimes, after they have toiled much throughout the night, they say, "We have toiled all night, and have taken nothing! (Lk 5:5). ... Take notice, if you please, that I say the saints are molded in Mary. There is a great difference between making a figure in relief by blows of a hammer and chisel, and making a figure by throwing it into a mold. Statuaries and sculptors labor much to make figures in the first manner; but to make them in the second manner, they work little and do their work quickly.

27 Ibid., n. 210. See also n. 203: [Mary] is on the lookout ... for favorable occasions to do [her true children] good, to advance and enrich them. She sees clearly all good and evil, all prosperous and adverse fortunes, the blessings and the cursings ... and then she disposes things from afar that she may exempt her servants from all sorts of evils, and obtain for them all sorts of blessings. ... "She herself takes care of our interests," says a certain saint. And n. 209: [Mary] conducts and directs [her devotees] according to the will of her Divine Son. ... She shows them the paths of eternal life. She makes them avoid the dangerous places. ... "If you follow her," says St. Bernard, "you cannot wander from the road." Fear not, therefore, that a true child of Mary can be deceived by the evil one, or fall into any formal heresy. There where the guidance of Mary is, neither the evil spirit with his illusions, nor the heretics with their subtleties, can ever come.

28 Patricia Treece, A Man for Others: Maximilian Kolbe, Saint of Auschwitz (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1982), p. 1.

29 Ibid., p. 9.

30 Ibid., p. 160.

31 H.M. Manteau-Bonamy, OP, Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit, trans. Richard Arnandez, FSC (Libertyville, IL: Franciscan Marytown Press, 1977), p. 2.

32 Here is the official, infallible declaration by Pope Pius IX, some four years prior to the apparitions at Lourdes: The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 491).

33 Manteau-Bonamy, p. 3.

34 Ibid.

35 Ibid., pp. 4-5.

36 See Paul VI's Beatification homily for Maximilian Kolbe on October 17, 1971: No one should disapprove if Blessed Maximilian and the Church together with him show such enthusiasm for the formal veneration of the most Blessed Virgin; this enthusiasm will never be too great considering the merits and the advantages we can derive from such veneration, precisely because a mysterious communion unites Mary to Christ, a communion that is documented convincingly in the New Testament. Never let us think of this as "Mariolatry"; we know that the sun will never be dimmed by the light of the moon; and never will the ministry of salvation entrusted to the Church's solicitude in particular be impaired, if the Church is faithful to honor in Mary her most exceptional Daughter, and her spiritual Mother."

37 The Book of the Sentences, St. Thomas Aquinas, I, dist. 14, q. 2 a. 2 as cited in Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit, p. 38.

38 Manteau-Bonamy, p. 3.

39 Ibid., p. 4.

40 Ibid.

41 Luigi Faccenda, OFM Conv., One More Gift, trans. Father Kolbe Missionaries of the Immaculate (West Covina, CA: Immaculata Press, 1990), pp. 74-75.

42 42 Treece, p. 73.

43 Aim Higher!: Spiritual and Marian Reflections of St. Maximilian Kolbe, trans. Dominic Wisz, OFM Conv. (Libertyville, IL: Marytown Press, 2007), p. 15.

44 44 Treece, p. 67.

45 45 Aim Higher!, p. 129.

46 Ibid., p. 13.

47 Manteau-Bonamy, p. 43.

48 Faccenda, pp. 51-52.

49 Treece, pp. 68-69.

50 Ibid., p. 66.

51 Aim Higher!, p. 129.

52 Ibid.

53 Ibid., pp. 129-130.

54 Ibid., p. 45.

55 Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the "Saint of Calcutta," ed. Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC (New York: Doubleday, 2007), p. 14.

56 Ibid., 48.

57 Ibid., 67.

58 Ibid., 68.

59 Ibid., 41.

60 Ibid., 149.

61 Ibid., 214.

62 Ibid., 216.

63 A Life for God: Mother Teresa Treasury, ed. Lavonne Neff (NY: Harper Collins, 1996), p. 139.

64 John Paul II's message for Lent 1993 reads:
Dear brothers and sisters, ... . Listen to the voice of Jesus who, tired and thirsty, says to the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well: "Give me a drink" (Jn 4:7). Look upon Jesus nailed to the Cross, dying, and listen to his faint voice: "I thirst" (Jn 19:28). Today, Christ repeats his request and relives the torments of his Passion in the poorest of our brothers and sisters (The Holy See, Message of His Holiness John Paul II for Lent 1993, September 18, 1992 [accessed August 15, 2011]).

65 Mother Teresa's letter to the Missionaries of Charity family, 25th March 1993 © 2011 Missionaries of Charity Sisters, c/o Mother Teresa Center. Used with permission.

66 Come Be My Light, p. 99.

67 Ibid.

68 Ibid.

69 Joseph Langford, MC, Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady: Sharing Mother Teresa's Mystical Relationship with Mary (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2007), p. 24-25.

70 Ibid., p. 40.

71 Aim Higher!, p. 13.

72 See In the Shadow of Our Lady, p. 72.

73 The examination of conscience (also called "examen") should be made sometime toward the end of the day. Most people make it shortly before going to bed. It's basically a mental review of the previous 16 hours or so of consciousness thus, some people prefer to call the examination of conscience an examination of consciousness.

To make the examen, first, we should put ourselves in the presence of God. In other words, we should begin with the attitude that the examen is a time of prayer, not just a mental exercise. Devoutly making the Sign of the Cross may be enough to do this.

Next, we just have to remember one word: baker, B-A-K-E-R, baker. Actually, we also have to remember what each letter of this word stands for. Let's start with "B".

B stands for "blessings". According to St. Ignatius, this is the most important of the five points. Here we simply review our day, survey the many blessings God has given us throughout it, and then praise and thank him for these blessings. For instance, maybe we had a great conversation with someone at lunch. During the examen, we might want to reflect on that gift and praise and thank God for it. Of course, we don't have to go through every single blessing of the day. That would take way too much time. The key is to let one's heart roam about and settle on the particular peaks of joy and blessing of the day, what Ignatius calls "consolation." One more thing: We shouldn't forget to thank God for the crosses of the day, which are also blessings.

If we get into the habit of praising and thanking God like this every day during our examen, then we'll begin to better recognize the blessings of our day as they happen, and thus, we'll develop a continual attitude of gratitude. In other words, our praise and thanks won't begin to flow simply when we make our examen it'll flow all day long. Furthermore, as God sees our efforts to recognize and thank him for his many gifts, he'll send us more and more.

A stands for "Ask." Although we already placed ourselves in the presence of God when we began the examen, here we need to ask for a special grace from the Holy Spirit, the grace to recognize our sins. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we'll remain blind to our sinfulness. Thus, when we get to this second point, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us recognize our sinfulness, which brings us to the next point.

K stands for "Kill." Why "kill"? Because it was our sins that killed and crucified Jesus. During this third point, we look at our sinfulness (weaknesses and attachments, too). So, again, we gaze across the conscious hours of our day. This time, however, we look not for peaks but valleys, what Ignatius calls "desolation." In other words, we pay attention to those times during our day when our hearts dropped. Why might they have dropped? Maybe because of someone else's sin. Maybe someone said something unkind to us. Fine. Did we forgive them? If so, good. If not, well, the examen is a good time to deal with it.

Now, let's keep looking. Here's another time our hearts dropped. It was this afternoon at work, standing by the water cooler. Hmmm. Why did our hearts drop then? Ah, yes (thanks, Holy Spirit), that's when we stuck Bob with a verbal barb. Let's see, anything else? Yes, there's another heart dropper: We didn't accept the traffic jam on our way home as a small sharing in the Cross. We should have been more peaceful about it and offered it up as a prayer for others.

Okay, so after remembering all those heart-dropping moments, we may feel pretty down. Such a feeling may make us want to run away from Jesus. Let's not. When the weight of our sinfulness drags us down, that's the best time to go to Jesus, sinfulness and all - which brings us to the next point.

E stands for "embrace." This is to allow Jesus to embrace us, sinners that we are, with the rays of his merciful love. While praying over this point, it may be helpful to think of the Image of Divine Mercy. I like to imagine the rays of this image embracing me with forgiveness. I also like to remember Jesus' words that it rests his Heart to forgive and that when I go to him with my sinfulness, I give him the joy of being my Savior. I believe that at this point of the examen, we greatly console Jesus when we simply let him embrace us with his merciful love and of course, we, too, are consoled. I recommend spending some time lingering on this point (in the embrace) before moving on to the next.

R stands for "Resolution." During this last point of the examen, we take what we've learned from the previous points and look ahead to the next day, ready to make resolutions. For instance, having recognized during "K" that we stuck Bob with a verbal barb at the office today, we might resolve that tomorrow morning we'll make it up to him by going to his cubicle, slapping him on the back, and congratulating him on how his football team did earlier this evening. Also, having remembered that we were impatient during the traffic jam today, we can resolve to bite our tongues if the sea of brake lights appears again tomorrow. Finally, because during "B" we realized that God was speaking to us during our lunchtime conversation with Sally, giving light on a certain problem, we can resolve to act on that light by looking up the online article she recommended. (I think we get the idea.)

74 Come Be My Light, p. 31.

75 Scott Hahn, A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications, 1998), p. 26.

76 Langford, p. 78.

77 The translation used in the Mass for this verse is taken from the Douay-Rheims Bible. In the RSV and other translations, the verse is Psalms 69:20.

78 Come Be My Light, p. 260-261.

79 Ibid., p. 321.

80 Ibid., p. 171.

81 Ibid., p. 233.

82 George Weigel, Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (New York: Harper Collins, 1999), p. 413.

83 In his book, "Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination" (New York: Doubleday, 1996), John Paul explains the meaning of the phrase "Totus Tuus," which is his papal motto. He says the phrase comes from St. Louis de Montfort and that the words are an abbreviation of a more complete form of entrustment to the Mother of God, which runs like this: "Totus Tuus ego sum et omnia mea Tue sunt. Accipio Te in mea Omnia. Praebe mimic or Tuum, Maria" (p. 30).

84 Lumen Gentium, n. 61.

85 Ibid., nn. 61-62.

86 Redemptoris Mater, n. 39.

87 Ibid., n. 20.

88 Ibid.

89 Ibid., nn. 21-22.

90 Ibid., n. 18.

91 Ibid., n. 23.

92 Ibid.

93 Ibid., n. 39.

94 Ibid., n. 24.

95 Ibid., n. 44.

96 Ibid.

97 Ibid., n. 45.

98 Ibid.

99 Ibid., n. 46.

100 These were John Paul's words during a greeting to English-speaking pilgrims at his first general audience in Rome after returning from this trip to Fatima in May, 1982. To read the text, see footnote 103.

101 Act of Entrustment, Pope John Paul II, May 13, 1982, n. 9. See also his use of these words during his Act of Entrustment of May 13, 1984, which are cited in the reflection for Day 22.

102 Homily of Pope John Paul II in Fatima, Portugal on May 13, 1982, n. 8.

103 This phrase comes from John Paul's greeting to English-speaking pilgrims at his first general audience in Rome after his return from Fatima (May, 1982), cited by Arthur Calkins in Totus Tuus: John Paul II's Program of Marian Consecration and Entrustment (Libertyville, IL: Academy of the Immaculate, 1992), p. 177. On that occasion, the Pope said:

Last week I myself went on pilgrimage to Portugal, especially to Fatima, in order to give thanks that the mercy of God and the protection of the Mother of Christ had saved my life last year. The message of Fatima is a call to conversion and penance, the first and most basic call of the Gospel. Today it is more urgent than ever, when evil is threatening us through errors based on denial of God. The message of Fatima puts us on our guard. It also invites us to approach anew the Fountain of Mercy by an act of consecration. Mary wishes us to draw near to it: each one of us, each nation, and the whole world.

104 Homily, 1982, n. 8.

105 Ibid., n. 9.

106 Act of Entrustment, May 13, 1982, n. 2.

107 Ibid.

108 Ibid.

109 Theotokos: Woman, Mother, Disciple (Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2000), p. 38.

110 True Devotion to Mary, n. 36.

111 Ibid., 20.

112 Regarding the point that Mary does not take us away from Jesus but leads us to him, de Montfort writes:

Mary was created only for God, and it is unthinkable that she should reserve even one soul for herself. On the contrary she leads every soul straight to God and to union with him. Mary is the wonderful echo of God. The more a person joins himself to her, the more effectively she unites him to God. When we say "Mary," she re-echoes "God" ("The Secret of Mary" in God Alone: The Collected Writings of St. Louis Marie de Montfort [Bay Shore, NY: Montfort Publications, 1995], p. 268).

113 Aim Higher!, p. 43.

114 Treece, p. 66.

115 The Kolbe Reader, ed. Anselm W. Romb, OFM Conv. (Libertyville, IL: Franciscan Marytown Press, 1987), p. 96.

116 Langford, p. 72.

117 Msgr. Arthur Burton Calkins, "The Theology of the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary," n.d. (accessed October 1, 2011).

118 Pope Pius XII, Audience on the Occasion of Louis de Montfort's Canonization (July 21, 1947). Emphasis added.

119 "The Secret of Mary", nn. 43-44.

120 Ibid., nn. 45-46.

121 The Kolbe Reader, p. 99.

122 Ibid., p. 112.

123 Ibid., p. 128.

124 It is a doctrine of the Catholic Church that we are called to participate in Jesus' redeeming action in the world. In other words, as we read in the introduction, Jesus doesn't just redeem us and then expect us to kick back and relax. On the contrary, he includes us in the work of redemption, and an important part of this work is our suffering. Specifically, Jesus invites us to unite our suffering with his in order to save souls: He invites us to be "co-redeemers," redeemers "with him," though in an entirely subordinate way to himself.

We approach the mystery of "co-redemption" when we reflect on some puzzling words of St. Paul: "I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for the sake of his body, the Church ... " (Col 1:24). How can St. Paul write that there's something "lacking" in the suffering of Christ? Jesus' suffering is objectively enough to save everyone, and the graces of his suffering are available to all. In this sense, there's absolutely nothing lacking in his suffering. Yet there's a kind of "lack" in Christ's suffering in the sense that not everyone subjectively accepts his grace and mercy. Moreover, there's also a lack in his suffering when people don't fully accept his grace and mercy, that is, when they do so halfheartedly and with reservations and conditions. It's precisely in such situations where people reject or don't fully accept God's grace that our sufferings and prayers can come in to "complete what is lacking."

So, Jesus didn't come to take away our suffering - he came to transform it. With Christ, suffering is no longer a meaningless burden. Yes, we still suffer, but now, if we're in the state of grace and unite our sufferings to those of Jesus, they have salvific value; they save souls; they give life to others. "That's great," you might be saying, "but how do I unite my sufferings to Christ?" It's simple. Give them to Mary. Mary was most united to Jesus in his suffering on the Cross, and when we give her our sufferings, she herself unites them to those of Jesus and to her own. Yes, even to her own.

Mary's sufferings at the foot of the Cross were greater than the sufferings of any other creature, and she offered them with the greatest love. To better understand her suffering and love, reflect on the following: If you were to ask any mother who has a child that is suffering terribly if she would rather switch places with her child, of course, she would immediately respond that she would switch places without hesitation. Such is the love of a mother. Now, just think that if you took all the love in the heart of every mother in the cosmos and put it into one heart, that love wouldn't equal the love that Mary has for Jesus. Also, consider that her son is the most loveable of all. Now consider that he was brutally beaten, insulted, and slowly killed right in front of her. Imagine her suffering? We cannot. Hers truly is the greatest suffering of any creature. Her heart was truly pierced with a sword. She truly was "spiritually crucified" with Jesus through love, through her perfectly compassionate love.

Now, if I can be a "co-redeemer" with Christ by offering up my own puny sufferings to him, then obviously Mary is also a co-redeemer. In fact, because of her extraordinary suffering with Christ, she deserves a special title, which many Popes have given her: "Co-Redemptrix." This title doesn't mean that she's equal to Christ but rather that she suffered with him in an extraordinary and subordinate way. (The prefix "co" doesn't mean "equal to" but "with.") This title is in recognition that she, more than anyone else, cooperated in Christ's work of redemption. And just as she has a special role in the Body of Christ of giving birth to "other Christs" through her prayers, so she has a special role in uniting us to Jesus' saving death. It's her job to help us unite our sufferings with Jesus, to bring us, in our suffering, face to face with the love of the Heart of Jesus crucified. Moreover, she augments the merits of our sufferings with her unfathomable merits, merits that she won through her painful union with Christ on the Cross as his loving mother.

How good it is to be consecrated to Mary! She helps us not to waste our sufferings. She unites them, with her own, to the Cross of Christ. Thus, she makes our sufferings superabundantly meaningful and meritorious for the life of the world.

125 Ibid., p. 120.

126 Ibid., p. 145.

127 Ibid., p. 15.

128 "The Secret of Mary", n. 48.

129 Joseph Pieper, Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990), p. 66.

130 Here's a list of Marian Feasts by date (those in blue are on US calendar):

  • 1 January Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
  • 8 January Our Lady of Prompt Succor
  • 23 January Espousal of the Virgin Mary
  • 24 January Madonna del Pianto (Our Lady of Tears)
  • 2 February Purification of Mary
  • 11 February Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes
  • 25 March Solemnity of the Annunciation
  • 26 April Our Lady of Good Counsel
  • 13 May Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima
  • 24 May Our Lady Help of Christians, Europe
  • 31 May Feast of the Visitation of Mary, Our Lady of All Nations
  • 9 June Our Lady Virgin Mother of Grace
  • 27 June Our Lady of Perpetual Help
  • 16 July Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
  • 17 July Humility of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • 2 August Our Lady of the Angels
  • 5 August Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome
  • 13 August Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners
  • 15 August Solemnity of Mary's Assumption into Heaven
  • 21 August Our Lady of Knock, Ireland
  • 22 August Memorial of the Queenship of Mary
  • 26 August Our Lady of Czestochowa
  • 29 August Our Lady of Good Health
  • 8 September Feast of the Nativity of Mary
  • 12 September Most Holy Name of Mary
  • 15 September Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
  • 19 September Our Lady of La Salette
  • 22 September Our Lady Queen of Peace
  • 24 September Our Lady of Walsingham
  • 1 October Holy Protection of the Mother of God
  • 7 October Memorial of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
  • 8 October Our Lady of Good Remedy
  • 11 October Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • 16 November Our Lady of Mercy (of the Dawn Gate)
  • 21 November Memorial of the Presentation of Mary
  • 27 November Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
  • 29 November Our Lady of Beauraing
  • 3 December Our Lady of Victories
  • 8 December Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
  • 12 December Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Here is a list of moveable Marian feast days, in other words, feast days that change their date from year to year:

  • Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Saturday after Corpus Christi
  • Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles Saturday after Ascension
  • Our Lady, Health of the Sick Saturday before the last Sunday in August
  • Our Lady of Consolation Saturday after the Feast of Saint Augustine
  • Mary, Mother of Divine Providence Saturday before 3rd Sunday of November

There are currently four types of "feasts." From most to least important they are as follows: solemnity, feast, memorial, and optional memorial. The term "feast" has two meanings: First, it means a feast proper (the second most important type of celebration). Second, it's used generically to mean a celebration regardless of rank.

The four most important Marian feasts (solemnities) in the calendar are as follows: Mary's Divine Motherhood (Jan. 1), her Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), her Assumption (Aug. 15), and the Annunciation (March 25). Of these four feasts, the feasts of Mary's Divine Motherhood, Immaculate Conception, and Assumption are holy days of obligation under the Code of Canon Law: Canon 1246 (1). With the prior approval of the Apostolic See, the Bishop's Conference can suppress certain holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday.

131 The pious practice of Five First Saturdays began after Our Lady's apparitions at Fatima. In the July apparition in 1917, Mary said to Lucia, "I shall come to ask ... that on the First Saturday of every month, Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins of the world."

It wasn't until December 10, 1925, when Our Blessed Mother again appeared to Lucia (this time at Pentevedra, Spain, where Lucia had been sent to learn to read and write from the Dorothean Sisters) that she completed her request for the Five First Saturdays. She told Lucia:

See, my daughter, my Heart encircled by thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you, at least, strive to console me. Tell them that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, in order to make reparation to me, on the First Saturday of five successive months, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, say five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for a quarter of an hour, meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.

The practice of the First Saturdays consists of the following elements performed with the intention of reparation and for five consecutive months:

  • Confession (before or after the First Saturday — so long as the person receives Holy Communion in a state of grace),
  • Holy Communion received on the First Saturday,
  • The Holy Rosary, five decades recited sometime during the day,
  • Meditating for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Rosary (one or more).

132 See the Vatican website (search Rosarium Virginis Mariae) or locate this pdf version

133 Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 15.

134 Catechism, n. 2725 ff.

135 Ibid., n. 1085. Emphasis in original.

33 DAYS TO MORNING GLORY: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration. Copyright © 2019 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. All rights reserved. In particular, no reproduction for profit is allowed.
Back to
33 Days
to Morning
   This page has received
Last update: