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May 31

The month of Mary: A Marian Month

The Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

The Story of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This is a fairly late feast, going back only to the 13th or 14th century. It was established widely throughout the Church to pray for unity. The present date of celebration was set in 1969, in order to follow the Annunciation of the Lord and precede the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.

Like most feasts of Mary, it is closely connected with Jesus and his saving work. The more visible actors in the visitation drama (see Luke 1:39-45) are Mary and Elizabeth. However, Jesus and John the Baptist steal the scene in a hidden way. Jesus makes John leap with joy—the joy of messianic salvation. Elizabeth, in turn, is filled with the Holy Spirit and addresses words of praise to Mary—words that echo down through the ages.

It is helpful to recall that we do not have a journalist’s account of this meeting. Rather Luke, speaking for the Church, gives a prayerful poet’s rendition of the scene. Elizabeth’s praise of Mary as “the mother of my Lord” can be viewed as the earliest Church’s devotion to Mary. As with all authentic devotion to Mary, Elizabeth’s (the Church’s) words first praise God for what God has done to Mary. Only secondly does she praise Mary for trusting God’s words.

Then comes the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). Here, Mary herself–like the Church–traces all her greatness to God.




Church of the Visitation

Ein Kerem, Israel

+972 2-641-7291


Hailing from the ancient Kurdish Jewish community, kadeh is a traditional, leavened bread filled with either meat or cheese. For me, making any bread is a labor of love. For others, it might be just a laborious task. I do not mind the time and work because I adore fresh, home-baked bread. When filled with cheese, kadeh is perfect for a Shavuot dairy meal. Enjoy it for breakfast alongside soup or salad or simply on its own. Cheese-filled kadeh can also include other savory fillings, such as sautéed mushrooms or strips of sun-dried tomatoes. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, fill it with a chocolate spread or chocolate chips and nuts. You may bake as a thin, flat bread, brushed with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.




  • 2 pounds all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 3 packets yeast (¾ ounce or 7 grams)

  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt

  • 2½ cups warm water

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • Flour for dusting

  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (Bulgarian, if you can find it; if not, you may need to add a bit of salt)

  • 8 ounces Gouda cheese, grated


  1. Place flour in a bowl of a stand mixer, make a well in the middle and add sugar and yeast. Pour 1 cup of the water onto the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes until it froths. Add salt, remaining 1½ cups water and olive oil, mix on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium and mix for 10 minutes, scraping down hook and sides of bowl with a spatula as necessary. The dough will be a bit soft and tacky.

  2. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn the dough so it is lightly coated with oil as well. Cover and place in a warm, draft-free area to rise for 45 minutes, or until it doubles in size. Meanwhile, mix the cheeses in a small bowl and dust a baking sheet or tray with flour. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces; shape each into a ball and place on the dusted sheet and let rise for another 45 minutes in a warm, draft-free area.

  3. Dust your work surface with flour. Place one dough portion on the floured surface and pat with your fingers to flatten into a 5-inch circle. Place 2 tablespoons of the cheese filling in the middle, gather the edges to the center over the filling and pinch to seal. Flatten by patting down with your hands into a 5- to 6-inch round. You may use a rolling pin. Cook in a hot iron skillet or griddle on the stovetop for about three minutes on each side. Keep the flame on medium so you do not scorch the bread. While the bread is cooking, shape the remaining balls into rounds. Alternatively, you may bake in a preheated 450-degree  oven for a few minutes on each side, turning halfway through. Serve warm.

  • Notes:

    • Dough may be prepared and put in the refrigerator overnight for first rise. Take out when ready to continue, gently deflate the dough and let stand to rise again and then proceed.

    • If your kitchen is drafty and you want the dough to rise faster, you can create a warm box by putting the dough in a cold oven or microwave and placing a cup of just boiled water next to the dough or on the shelf underneath, closing the dough and letting it rise inside for a while.

    • To freeze the bread, cool after baking and wrap with plastic wrap.  When ready to use, thaw on the countertop. Unwrap and reheat in 350-degree oven for 8 minutes. It will be like fresh.

Israeli Fruit Salad


  • 2 ripe plums, unpeeled and sliced (golden, red, and purple plums)

  • 2 red or green ripe pears, unpeeled and cubed

  • ½ cup dates, pitted and finely chopped

  • ½ cup fresh figs, stemmed and thinly sliced

  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds, plus more for garnish

  • Zest and juice from 1 lime

  • ¼ cup nana, or mint, finely chopped, plus more for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon honey


1. Combine plums, pears, dates, figs, and pomegranate seeds.

2. Toss with lime zest and juice, mint, and honey.

3. Garnish with additional mint and pomegranate seeds.

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