About the Feast

According to apocryphal sources, this feast was celebrated as early as the second century. Reliable records show that it was observed in the Eastern Church by the sixth century. In 1372, when Pope Gregory XI learned of this feast's being celebrated in Greece, he introduced it. at Avignon. Eventually, in 1585, Pope Sixtus extended the feast to the universal Church.

The feast celebrates two events: the presentation of the child Mary in the Temple, which probably occurred when she was three years old; and the consecration of a basilica dedicated to Mary in Jerusalem, built near the site of the Temple.

Mary was the only child of her parents, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim. Though it was not obligatory to present a first-born daughter to the Lord, as it was with a first-born son, many Jewish parents did follow this custom. Girls were presented at about the age of three, whereas boys were presented at a much younger age, at forty days old.

Her presentation at the Temple meant that Mary later probably received an education. That is, she would learn to read sacred Scripture and also to write, in addition to learning traditional feminine skills, such as weaving, sewing, and cooking.

With this in mind, we see the faith and obedience of her "fiat" at the time of the Annunciation as especially poignant and significant, for she would then have been well aware of the prophesies concerning the coming Messiah, including those foretelling His painful Passion and death.

Observing the Feast

We should follow Mary's example so that our "yes" to Christ is as heartfelt and sincere as was hers. Knowledge of the Scriptures will help us. The more we know of "salvation history", the more we will embrace and appreciate the great gift of faith we have been given.

Here are a few family games and activities that will help us to learn the Scriptures. Anyone of these games could become a family favorite.
Bible Charades

In teams, or individually, choose an Old or New Testament scene, and, portraying the characters (or animal!) involved, act it out without words. Other members of the family try to guess who's who and what's what. As the family becomes more familiar with this game, players will have to read the Bible carefully to find less obvious events and people to portray. "Winning" is correctly guessing the character or event portrayed.

Bible Pictionary

This game is a pencil-and-paper version of charades. An event, character, or animal is chosen, then one member from each team draws pictures that help their team members guess the word or phrase. A team "wins" by guessing correctly first. There is a commercial version of this game.
Bible Twenty Questions

One person chooses a character, event, or animal from the Bible; then the rest of the family must guess who or what it is by asking questions that can be answered only "Yes" or "No". "Winning" is correctly guessing the answer before using up all twenty questions.