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Mary, Did You Know?

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Today (May 31) on the Church calendar is the feast day commemorating the visit of Mary with her cousin Elizabeth.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Luke 1:39–56

Luke is the only Gospel that mentions the visitation. It is believed Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months, having been told by the Angel Gabriel that Elizabeth was about three months pregnant.

The earliest records of the feast are with the Franciscan Chapter's adoptionin 1263 as recommended by St. Boniface. Until the revision of the Roman calendar in 1969, the Visitation was celebrated on July 2. Pope Paul VI moved the celebration to May 31 in order that it would fall between the feasts of the Annunciation and the Birth of St. John the Baptist. In some Anglican traditions it is a day of commemoration and not a feast day.

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