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Feast of the Visitation

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May. 31, 2012

On May 31st each year, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Visitation.  This feast recalls to us the following truths and events:

  • The visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation;
  • The cleansing of John the Baptist from original sin in the womb of his mother at the words of Our Lady’s greeting;
  • Elizabeth proclaiming of Mary, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, as Mother of God and “blessed among women”;
  • Mary’s singing of the hymn “Magnificat” which has become a part of the daily official prayer of the Church;

The Visitation is frequently depicted in church art, and was a central mystery and theme to many of the great saints.  Mary, hearing herself being addressed by the most lofty of titles, “Mother of the Lord” realized what grace her visit had in meeting John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb, and Mary broke out in praise, proclaiming prophetically that from that moment on she would be venerated down through the centuries. 

On this Feast of the Visitation, we can all join in praying the Magnificat, the hymn of praise that Mary so proudly proclaimed at the moment John leap in Elizabeth’s womb!  Here is the Magnificat that the Church uses today. 


My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen