By Colleen Pressprich
One thing I love about the Church’s liturgical calendar is the way that feast days are sprinkled throughout the year. It means that our family always has something to celebrate! In the dog days of August, my kids are always on the lookout for a reason to have a popsicle, and they are in luck because there are two major Marian feast days in the month.
The Assumption of Mary
This is the feast day that most Catholics think of when they think of August Marian feast days. The Assumption is when we celebrate Mary being taken up to Heaven at the time of her death. This feast is celebrated yearly on August 15.
Fun Catholic fact: the Church has never stated definitively whether Our Lady was already dead or whether she was still alive at the time of the Assumption. There is still debate amongst theologians about this, and you can see the different opinions played out in art pieces depicting the Assumption throughout Church history.
Church teaching does however teach that Mary’s body and her soul were both taken up to Heaven during the Assumption, which is why there is no burial spot for her venerated here on earth. Tradition holds that the surviving Apostles surrounded her as she lay dying and were present for the Assumption.
The Queenship of Mary
Just a week later, on August 22, the Church celebrates the feast of the Queenship of Mary. This feast, acknowledged in the glorious mysteries of the rosary, is when we proclaim Mary the Queen of Heaven. A newer feast, it was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII in 1954. But even though the official feast is new, the roots of it go back centuries which we can see from prayers like the Hail Mary and the Salve Regina
Ways to Celebrate Mary in August
There are lots of ways to honor Mary this month. Here are a few of my favorites.
Pray a decade of the rosary
I love this one, especially for the feasts of August because they are both mysteries of the rosary! Even if your kids can’t handle a full rosary, there are lots of ways to sneak a decade into your day whether it be during a car ride, while they’re playing in the bathtub, or as you do the dishes after dinner.
Look at beautiful art
These two feast days are depicted in countless paintings and sculptures in all styles of art. No matter what your artistic preference is, a simple Google image search will turn up plenty of options. Chances are there are even a couple of options at your local art museum.
You can print one out or just pull one up on your screen. Invite your kids to look at it with you. See what they notice, what details jump out at them. Use this as an opportunity to talk about Mary and her relationship to her Son.
Hold another crowning
If you missed out on holding a family crowning of Mary in May (or, like my kids, yours just really love the practice), the Queenship of Mary gives you the perfect chance for a re-do! Make a crown of real or paper flowers, sing some hymns (the Salve Regina is perfect!), and crown Mary in all her handmade glory.
Happy celebrating! I hope these feasts are fruitful for you and your family!
Colleen Pressprich is the author of Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children and The Women Doctors of the Church. You can learn more about her life as a homeschooling mom and read more of her writing at elevatortoheaven.com.