Coincidence by date: 1 May

Concerning the 1 May Beatification of John Paul II.

A reader sent the following:

May 1st the prayers for Santo Subito will be rejoiced The Universal Church will lift up one of the greatest men of modern times.

May 1 is an interesting date which is fitting for what it had been and what it this beatification now models for us who remain militant.

• 880 – The Nea Ekklesia is inaugurated in Constantinople, setting the model for all later cross-in-square Orthodox churches
• Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker
• Beginning of Mary’s Month
• England Plough Day (after which new seeds were sown)
• 1987 – Pope John Paul II beatifies Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun who was gassed in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.
• 2011 – Pope Benedict XVI will beatify Pope John Paul II, a great servant of the Lord who garnered many souls, had great public piety, met the world and stood up against some of its greatest enemies as a true prince of the Church.

• May Crowning of Mother Mary
• May Morning is an annual event in Oxford, England, on May Day (1 May). It starts early at 6am with the Magdalen College Choir singing a hymn, the Hymnus Eucharisticus, from the top of Magdalen Tower, a tradition of over 500 years

• 1572 – Death of Saint Pope Pius V (b. 1504)
• 1731 – Johann Ludwig Bach, German composer (b. 1677)
• 1904 – Antonín Dvo?ák, Czech composer (b. 1841)
• 1945 – Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda (b. 1897)

• 1218 – Birthday of Rudolph I of Germany, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (d. 1291)

• 1956 – The polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk is made available to the public.

Fun Facts
• 1751 – The first cricket match is played in America.
• 1921 – Americanization Day. In 1958, due in part to the appropriation of May Day by the Soviet Union, the US Congress declared that Loyalty Day be observed on May 1 in the United States. It is a day set aside for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.

Wars of suppression and oppression and persecution Events
• 305 – Diocletian and Maximian retire from the office of Roman Emperor
• 1328 – Wars of Scottish Independence end: Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton – the Kingdom of England recognizes the Kingdom of Scotland as an independent state.
• 1576 – Stefan Batory, the reigning Prince of Transylvania, marries Anna Jagiellon and they become the co-rulers of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and later entreaty with Sweden to help stem off the advance from Ivan the Terrible, allowing the retaking of Livonia and preserving Poland and Lithuania.
• 1707 – The Act of Union joins the Kingdom of England and Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
• 1834 – The British colonies abolish slavery

Ancient Pagan significance
• England – Month of three Milkings
– various fertility rites
• Gaelic – feast of (the) Bealtaine (end of the “year”)
• Roman- Festival of Flora, the Roman Goddess of flowers
• Europe – Walpurgis Night (folk festivals) commemorating what was the first day of Summer (Feb 1 being 1st day of Spring and thus Summer solstice being midsummer)
• Neopagan – cross-quarter day tied to astrology (midway form spring equinox to Summer solstice)

Workers Rights
• 1884 – Proclamation of the demand for eight-hour workday in the United States.
1886 – Rallies were held throughout the United States demanding the eight-hour work day culminating in the Haymarket Affair

Modern Communist/Socialist Actions to which JPII fought his entire life
• 1945 – The Yugoslav partisans (aka Yugoslav People’s Army = communists) “free” Trieste from Axis Germany, will later lead to Tito and a Communist tyranny that even stood up to Stalin
• 1948 – The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is established, with Kim Il-sung as leader.
• 1961 – The Prime Minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro, proclaims Cuba a socialist nation and abolishes elections.
• 1971 – Amtrak (the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) is formed to take over U.S. passenger rail service.
• May Day = International Workers Day

May we be blessed by Blessed-designate John Paul’s intercession for a faithful and true unity until we meet him in the presence of our Lord.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. ppb says:

    It’s also significant that this year (2011) Divine Mercy Sunday happens to fall on May 1.

  2. Father G says:

    This is what has been crossing my mind today…

    As Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla lifted the ban on the messages of Divine Mercy. Six months later, he is elected as Pope John Paul II.

    On April 30, 2000 (Divine Mercy Sunday) Pope John Paul II canonizes St. Faustina and officially establishes Divine Mercy Sunday.

    Pope John Paul II died on April 2, 2005 ,the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday.

    Pope John Paul II will be beatified on May 1, 2011, Divine Mercy Sunday.

    Pope John Paul II and Divine Mercy. Coincidence? Divine Providence!!!!!

  3. Hieronymus says:

    • 1921 – Americanization Day.

    Now that does indeed seem appropriate.

  4. asophist says:

    Interesting. I didn’t know JPII fought against the establishment of AMTRAK, without which the central and western United States (and much more) would have zero passenger rail service. Who would have thought? I bet it wasn’t a high point of his pontificate.

  5. Jack Orlando says:

    Why John Paul II is worthy:

    1. – canned right away Küng, Curran, and the Liberation theologians
    2. – did more than can the SSPX Bishops and rightly called their ordination schismatic
    3. – Rosemary Ruether’s day was done, at least in the Church.
    4. – forbid women clergy, perhaps infallibly
    5. – gave us Ecclesia Dei, the forerunner of Summorum Pontificum
    6. – helped to get the ball rolling for better translations
    7. – splendid in the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity
    8. – did much to improve relations with Jews
    9. – one of the most brilliant modern Christian philosophers, developing the schools of personalism and Christian phenomenology
    10. – gave us great encyclicals; my favorite: Evangelium Vitae
    11. – left the Church better than he found it
    12. – He was recognized by non-Catholics as a good, loving man, and thus good PR for the Church
    13. – led the parade in defeating Communism. his greatest achievement.
    14. – named Ratzinger head of the Sacred Congregation of the Faith
    15. – groomed his successor

  6. stpetric says:

    Forgive a little bit of a tangent, but the “Hymnus Eucharisticus” mentioned in the enchiridion of dates is quite lovely. Hear a recent rendering at

    And the text:

    1 Te Deum Patrem colimus,
    Te laudibus prosequimur,
    qui corpus cibo reficis,
    coelesti mentem gratia.

    2 Te adoramus, O Jesu,
    Te, Fili unigenite,
    Te, qui non dedignatus es
    subire claustra Virginis.

    3 Actus in crucem, factus est
    irato Deo victima
    per te, Salvator unice
    vitae spes nobis rediit.

    4 Tibi, aeterne Spiritus
    cuius afflatu peperit
    infantem Deum Maria,
    aeternum benedicimus.

    5 Triune Deus, hominum
    salutis auctor optime,
    immensum hoc mysterium
    orante lingua canimus.

    (Translation at )

  7. bookworm says:

    “I didn’t know JPII fought against the establishment of AMTRAK, without which the central and western United States (and much more) would have zero passenger rail service. ”

    Neither did I. I suppose that means my brother would be excommunicated since he used to work for Amtrak, and I might have to mention in confession that I took Amtrak to Chicago a few months back? :-)

    Seriously, though, this is good news. Having the beatification on Divine Mercy Sunday makes perfect sense as well.

  8. New Sister says:

    Jack – didn’t Pope John Paul II also give us the FSSP? (what a gift!)

  9. Justin Martyr says:


    You must stop listing great accomplishments and evidence of our late Pope’s greatness as a Catholic hero and model.

    You’ll hurt the ultra-trad narrative about how he was a heretic, a disaster, and nearly single-handedly destroyed the Church.

    An excellent summary by the way…..I’m sure they find a way to poke holes in it and express their intense bitterness toward the future Blessed JPII.

  10. Hieronymus says:

    Jack —

    I began to write a rebuttal of your points. Then I realized that this is pointless. If you actually see things that way after living through the JPII years, you will not be convinced by a negative list of actions performed and/or allowed under his pontificate. So I leave you with this: there is a different side to the story. There are many good and faithful Catholics out there who suffered a great deal during his reign just for being Catholic, and for us this is little cause for celebration.

    God bless.

    [Just to head off criticism before it starts, I am in no way associated with the SSPX]

  11. Prof. Basto says:

    It is fitting that the Pope who was instrumental in crushing Communism will be beatified on May day.

    The downfall of Communism was the greatest enterprise Pope John Paul II was involved into and was his greatest acheivement. And now, apart from being the day of St. Joseph the Worker (a memorial created as an inculturation attempt invented by Pius XII in a bid to Christianize the date), May Day will be forever be remembered as the date of the beatification of the Pope that crushed Communism. It is the final triumph of John Paul II.

    And the coincidence with Divine Mercy Sunday is remarkable.

  12. catholicmidwest says:

    “one of the most brilliant modern Christian philosophers, developing the schools of personalism and Christian phenomenology”

    Uh not at all. Virtually no one outside specifically Catholic religious topics considers him a philosopher at all.

    Now, Aquinas was a philosopher’s philosopher. Western philosophy can’t be discussed at all without Aquinas, and Anselm too for that matter, and perhaps even Augustine, and consequently they are mentioned by name even in the most secular philosophy classrooms. The most basic ideas of philosophy require that their work be discussed. Also William of Ockham and Jean Buridan were very important philosophers…..and both were also ordained.

    [There are many great mathematicians who were ordained priests also, including Sacchieri, who came up with one of the first non-euclidean geometries. Leave it to a Jesuit. ;) ]

  13. catholicmidwest says:

    This beatification is really about PJP2’s personal holiness, and perhaps he was as holy as they say. It’s not about his intellectual prowess as a philosopher, or his grades in school, or his ability as an administrator or leader (which was questionable, IMHO)…. It’s apparently not even about his attitude toward liturgy, which I also never did get. But be that as it may, it looks as though he is indeed going to be beatified soon.

    I will tell you one thing. He acted very effectively as a “speed bump” for 25 years. If I (and many of you) got impatient because nothing was settled and it went on and on and interminably on, so did the progressives. And it has been enough to finally nearly break them since they were married to the age, and the age has passed. He was the passive preparation for what we are seeing occur now.

  14. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    Despite the admitted pastoral relevance of May 1 as St. Joseph the Worker in response to communist holidays, it is somewhat bemusing that one “commemoration” left off the May Day list is Sts. Philip and James, which is what May Day principally was for Christians for centuries and centuries until 1955. Interesting, the Bugnini calendar commission kept the Pian commission’s decision to displace the ancient apostolic feast and move the apostles to the nearest free day, which in 1955 had been May 11 and in 1969, May 3 (the ancient feast of the Invention of the Cross having been lost to the universal calendar in 1960).

  15. Andrew says:

    It is indeed remarkable that this date of May 1, mirrors a number of attributes of John Paul II.

    Firstly May is the month devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and he had a deep devotion to Our Lady.

    Secondly this taking place on the feast of Divine Mercy, is just exceptional after establishing the feast day, and dying on its vigil.

    Thirdly, the event taking place on International Workers Day and his role in the fall of communism is illuminating, when one recalls his days as an underground seminarian in Poland, working in a limestone quarry with his bare hands. John Paul (like his predecessor Pius XII) was a great believer in the dignity of work, and said this experience as a young man, taught him more than anything else, in his whole life. In 1981, he wrote an apostolic exhortation on this theme known as Ad Laborem Exercens.

    Let us pray for Blessed John Paul’s intercession on our troubled times, that he worked so hard to change. A lot of the problems because the world has refused to listen to his message.

  16. Katherine says:

    How wonderful that thiks day match International Labor Day/Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Pope John Paul II was a great promoter of workers and workers rights. He constantly preached justice for workers and that we be givin our due rights. He proclaimed trade unions an essential part of a just society. May, from his throne in heaven, intercede for those who labor and those who work to build social solidarity among workers.

  17. I’m very happy for those who love Pope John Paul II. I hope this brings you closer to God.

    Just a quick question, though. Why is that love for Pope John Paul II is so often coupled with hatred for those associated with the SSPX?

  18. Jack Orlando says:

    1. Thanks, New Sister. Yes, # 16: the FSSP! I left out also #17: the Divine Mercy Sunday.

    2. Thanks, Justin. Yes, this will upset the ultra-trads, following in the footsteps of Charles X, who “remembered nothing and forgot nothing”.

    3. Hieronymus: I am surprised, because of your love of philosophy, that you have a version of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Did bad things happened during JPII papacy? Sure. Did he cause them, by action or inaction? I think not, and you have not so demonstrated. Those bad things were already there in 1978. Indeed, he started the movement toward improvement. Everyone and everything under the Moon is a mix of the good and the bad. Did the obvious good of JPII outweigh the supposed bad? Yes, and ponderously so. His papacy was a watershed, beginning the post V2 period. You want change or restoration? Any change that lasts must be made slowly and carefully or it will not last at all. The changes during the V2 period were too fast, so they will not last. But we’re now not living in the 50s. We need changes for a new situation.

    4. catholicmidwest. There’s lots more to philosophy than Scholasticism. St. Edith Stein, Husserl’s student, could tell you that!

  19. Hieronymus says:

    Jack —

    I intentionally didn’t give specifics so as not to spoil what is for many a happy occasion. Thus, you cannot say that I fell into a fallacy because in order to resolve the question of causation, you have to know, at the very least, what negative things I am referring to. Only then could we discuss JPII’s role in each instance.

    I will simply say that your list is vague and rosy, and your rhetoric has a strong, but ill-founded, air of condescension. And while I hope those commenting exercise prudence, I think before this discussion is over you will have motivated some very harsh criticism of the man you hoped to praise. In fact it probably already has. Fr. Z’s censoring tends to give the impression that “public” opinion is more positive than it really is. [not saying that is always bad, just stating a fact]

    In Christo.

  20. JMody says:

    Jack and other fans of the late Holy Father notwithstanding, this is the one part of this that I found troubling:

    a great servant of the Lord who garnered many souls, had great public piety, met the world and stood up against some of its greatest enemies as a true prince of the Church

    In reverse order,
    1. Which enemies did he stand firmly against? He excommunicated something like 26 people in his entire papcy, of whom 6 were SSPX/Lefebvre & Co. By a consistent standard, he should have excommunicated and declared schismatic over 100 “bishops” Chinese Patriotic church, but retained cordial relations with that pro-abort Communist organization throughout his papacy.
    2. Garnered many souls — also kissed the Koran, convened two hideously scandalous Assisi meet-and-greets. Scandalized many more by his refusal to defend nearly any tradition of the Church with decisive action — altar girls are wrong, bishops do it anyway, so never mind. Rosary was about the only thing not related to the Consecration that was untouched, so he added mysteries, but only as proposed personal reflections, and now everyone treats these as dogmatically binding. Created plenty of confusion in these areas, in areas surrounding appropriate “inculturation” at Masses, and so on.
    2. The faith is growing worldwide BARELY, and only because of Africa. The faith is receding in the Americas, and nearly obliterated in Europe. Discipline or a stand against the enemies of the Church did not include a stand against the sexual abuse crisis manifest across Europe and the Americas.
    3. A great man — certainly. A model of piety, certainly. But how much of this is us caving in to the ‘rock star’ phenomenon, convinced that just because it was a long pontificate and he was widely loved, he was ipso facto ‘great’? I think the jury should wait a hundred years before even considering something like “il Magne” here. I am also wondering when he will be declared a Doctor of the Church – not that I think it fits, but that the “discontinuity” crowd needs to claim one for their own.

  21. catholicmidwest says:

    The case of Edith Stein is interesting also. She was, first and foremost, a convert, a Carmelite and a martyr to the Third Reich. And she did it in such a holy way that she was declared a saint. But as much as I like her, and have read much about her, she was never a great philosopher outside Catholic circles, such as they currently are. She was a lecturer of philosophy who worked with Husserl, off and on, as his assistant, as her own autobiographical material makes clear. She knew of the Vienna Circle but she wasn’t actually a member. She did write some obscure things, but they are not considered central to any topic of philosophy on the large scale. You most likely won’t ever hear of her in a university classroom.

  22. JKnott says:

    Our Lady of Fatima (who Pope JPII credited for saving his life when he was shot) said, “If my requests are not heard Russia will spread her errors.” May 1st is the big Marxist / Communist Godless holiday celebrating workers of the State. JPII was key in fighting the stranglehold of Communism in Poland and elsewhere.
    Perhaps the Providential aspect of May 1st being Feast of Divine Mercy this year, AND a communist May day celebration is significant. Now maybe we can get back to March 19h – Feast of St Joseph Spouse of Mary and Patron of the Universal Church.. The Church has always taught respect for work. St Joseph is not a “Comrade”.

  23. Katherine says:

    International Workers Day (May 1) is just that. Outside the USA, which has Labor Day in September, it is common date that Catholics, Socialists, Communists, Christian Democrats and civil and religious institutions observe to reflect on the dignity of work and the rights of workers. Given the late Holy Father’s strong support for free trade unions, it is a most appropriate date to assoicate with him.

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