3. The Catholic Month
And just as we considered the Catholic day and the Catholic week, each month of the year has a specific focus as well. However, the particular focus assigned to each month is not a ‘dogmatic’ matter which has been defined by the Church’s solemn authority. Rather, these devotions have been practiced by the faithful and grown as ‘popular piety.’ They have varied according to region and local custom. Thus, it is not uncommon for one to find lists that differ somewhat.
Such variations should not cause us any concern, but rather serve to highlight the richness of our Catholic Faith. There are so many wondrous mysteries which we can meditate upon throughout the months of the year. You (and your family) can choose to focus on one particular mystery (devotion) in a given month. You could choose to continue with the same monthly devotions each year, or foster a different devotion as the years roll by. Over time, such a practice can greatly increase your spiritual arsenal of novenas and meditations, and should draw you into a more profound union with the Blessed Trinity and Communion of Saints.
Here is a listing of the most common associations of devotions per calendar month:
January is devoted to the Holy Name and the Childhood of Our Lord.
February is devoted to the Holy Family and the Purification of Our Lady.
March is devoted to St. Joseph and the Passion of Our Lord.
April is dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, the Resurrection, and the Holy Ghost.
May is in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
June is devoted to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord.
July is dedicated to His Most Precious Blood.
August is in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Assumption.
September is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary and the Exaltation of the Cross.
October is in honor of both the Holy Rosary and the Holy Angels.
November is dedicated to praying for the Poor Souls in Purgatory.
And December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and the Nativity of Our Lord.
In regard to these months, how often do we give these monthly devotions any thought? Do you pray the Litany of Loreto in May or the Litany of the Sacred Heart in June? Do we make special devotions to the Precious Blood in July? Do we honor the dead and make special satisfaction for souls in November?
If you are truly serious about living a Catholic liturgical life, I ask you to look up these monthly devotions for more information and live them out. One priest I know recommended that we select either a short novena or litany that corresponds to each of these monthly devotions. Then during a given month, one could pray that particular devotion each day. An ideal time for a family might be following the family Rosary. An individual might choose to make it part of his morning or night prayers, or pray it as part of his thanksgiving after assisting at Holy Mass.
If we commit ourselves to praying these various monthly devotions each day of the month, we are sure to meditate more profoundly on the mysteries they highlight. A growth in corresponding virtues and graces is inevitable, because when one makes such a sacrifice, for the love of God, Our Heavenly Father responds with an outpouring of blessings. God is never outdone in generosity.