May 13, 2022
Author: Hannah DeVivo
May is considered the month of Mary and today, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, let’s reflect on why that is so.
Why is May Considered the Month of Mary?
The tradition of devoting the Springtime to an important woman of any religion has been around for quite a while. Spring is the time of year when the weather shifts. The seasons change from the harsh cold of winter to soft breezes, light rains, and new life. This life comes in the form of flowers, plants, and animals. Pagan cultures would dedicate the Spring to a fancied goddess of fertility and beauty. Ancient Romans celebrated floral games at the end of April and called upon the goddess of blooms to expel winter and bring the new growth of May.
There are many reasons why Mary is associated with the Springtime. She is often referred to as the “New Eve” because she said “yes” to God after Eve had said “no.” Eve was the first woman, and her role was to bring life into the world and serve with love and nurturing care. Through Eve’s disobedience sin entered the world. God in His abundant mercy and love had a plan for salvation. He would give another woman the opportunity to say “yes” to His will and through her, bring forth a Savior. Mary chose to serve and give birth to the Man who would redeem us all. Not only did physical life come from Mary, but also a renewal of our communion with God. Countless souls have accepted the invitation to live with God in everlasting glory.
Church Celebrations of Mary
Around the 1700’s, the Jesuit order began dedicating the month of May to Mary. Soon the practice of honoring Mary by celebrating her during this month spread to Rome and the rest of the Church. The leaders of the Church have encouraged and celebrated this custom throughout the years. In his Encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy, Mediator Dei, Pope Pius XII described prayers offered during May in honor of the Blessed Mother as one of “other exercises of piety which although not strictly belonging to the Sacred Liturgy, are nevertheless of special import and dignity, and may be considered in a certain way to be an addition to the liturgical cult: they have been approved and praised over and over again by the Apostolic See and by the Bishops.”
There are many ways churches choose to honor Mary during May. Many parishes will select a statue or image of our Blessed Mother, surrounded by bouquets of flowers, to display for the month. Seeing the Church’s celebration of Mary is an excellent reminder for parishioners to love their spiritual Mother and grow in virtue.
Some confuse our reverence to Mary for worship. It’s important to point out that we worship God alone. We don’t build an altar to Mary to praise her as a deity. However, we do recognize and respect her as the mother of Jesus, our King, and therefore crown her as Queen of Heaven and Earth. As God’s Word proclaims, “He has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed” (Luke 1:48).
The crowning of Mary takes place during May, the month dedicated to her. Each parish and person may choose to celebrate a “May Crowning” when and how they wish. Recently, Pope Francis declared that the Monday after Pentecost be celebrated as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. Perhaps one day the Church will universally choose to crown Mary on that feast. Until then, the manner of the crowning varies by place. Typically, May Crownings are celebrated during Mass and sometimes include a procession with hymns devoted to Mary. Our Lady is then crowned with fresh blossoms and flowers to signify her beauty and virtue.
Although this practice traditionally takes place in church, it has spread to individuals, schools, and families. Just as everyone has their own relationship with Mary, she is crowned and celebrated in different ways. Some people bring flowers for her, and some decide to attach a specific intention or prayer to the stem. It’s a good idea to replace the flowers regularly throughout the month to keep her crown fresh and beautiful. However you may have celebrated a May crowning in the past, you can always make it unique by adding your personal touch.
How to Honor Mary with your family
May is a great time to foster a deep and beautiful connection between your family and Mary. As stated above, there are many ways to put an affectionate and individual touch on the celebration of this month. Check out our website for images, statues, and other devotionals to Mary!
- If you have an area in your home specifically for prayer, you can add a beloved image or statue of Mary.
- You can add a special song or prayer devoted to Our Lady that the family can sing or pray together.
- If you have little children, they can make or decorate a crown for Mary that they get to place atop her head.
- Your whole family can select flowers and help arrange them into a crown or circlet around Mary.
- Each family member can share a personal encounter or connection they have experienced with our Blessed Mother.
I pray that your connection with Mary strengthens this month, and that you enjoy celebrating her with your family and loved ones. However you decide to honor Our Lady in your home and personal life, the most important thing is to do it with love. As Saint Thérèse of Lisieux said, “Mary is more Mother than Queen.”
Before You Go
Do you have any fond memories or traditions for May Crowning?
How are you honoring Mary this May?
Have you learned anything new in this article?
I would LOVE to hear from you. Send me an email to Catholic-Living@Autom.com
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