For May, often called Mary's month in popular devotion, we offer you two articles for contemplation. The first one, below, is divided into five sections: liturgy, Mary's month, ways to celebrate, a practical suggestion for a Marian coronation, and a sample celebration for use in parishes. The second article shares with you the official church teaching on coronation of images. You will find this in our resource section, Coronation of Mary.
 
Liturgical Celebrations for Mary in May
[Mystical Rose]
Mary Month – Why May?
Ways to Celebrate Mary's Month
May Crowning Suggestions:
Everyone Crowns (for younger children)
A Marian Coronation Celebration for Parishes
Additional Resources:
What Is the History of the May Devotion?
Coronation of Mary (official rite of coronation as recommended by the Church)
May Hymns
What is the origin of the May Altar?
 
 
Liturgical Celebrations for Mary in May
Two Marian liturgical celebrations are commemorated in May. When Ascension falls in May, the Saturday after the Ascension of Our Lord is traditionally celebrated as the Feast of Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles. The liturgy commemorates the period of time after the Ascension when the apostles were gathered in prayer with Mary and the women in the Upper Room. On May 31, in the United States, we celebrate the Commemoration of the Visitation. When Mary heard that her elderly relative, Elizabeth, was expecting a child, she hurried to help her. Mary's service brought Christ to the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth.
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Mary Month – Why May?

The month of May is traditionally dedicated to Mary in many cultures. May is considered the season of the beginning of new life. Already in Greek culture, May was dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of fecundity. In Roman culture, May was dedicated to Flora, the goddess of bloom, of blossoms. The Romans celebrated ludi florales (literally: floral games) at the end of April, asking the intercession of Flora for all that blooms. This is also related to the medieval practice of expelling winter. May 1 was considered the beginning of growth.

At one time, the custom of having a Mary-month was independent from the month of May as such:

  • A very old tradition known as Tricesimum (or: Thirty-Day Devotion to Mary; also called Lady Month) was originally held from August 15 - September 14. The exact dates or origin of this devotion are unknown, but the custom is still practiced here and there.

  • Mary Month, as yet unrelated to a specific period, has been known since baroque times (Sources: Johannes Nadasi; Theophilus Marianus, 1664; J. X. Jacolet, Mensis Marianus, 1724). This devotion was comprised of about thirty spiritual exercises in honor of Mary.

Since medieval times, we have had the combination between Mary and the month of May. Among the earliest witnesses are: Alphonsus X, "el sabio," King of Castille, Spain (1221-1284) with his "Cantigas de Santa Maria" ("Ben venna Mayo"). Here and elsewhere, both Mary and the month of May are greeted, welcomed and celebrated on specific days in May. Later, the whole month of May became the month of Mary. On each day of this month, special devotions to Mary were organized. This custom originated in Italy (for example: Ferrara, 1784). It was spread widely during the nineteenth century, a century well-known for its monthly devotions (Heart of Jesus in June; Rosary in October).

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Ways to Celebrate Mary's Month

[Mary, the Virgin]

There are many ways to celebrate this particular devotion. Most churches have a daily recitation of the rosary. Some include the crowning of Our Lady's statue. The important thing is that Mary be honored in a special way. At one time, the domestic celebrations of the month of May were widespread, especially by setting up a small May altar in the home.

May crowning became popular in the United States, especially prior to Vatican II. This practice continues in many parishes today. A statue of Mary is honored with a wreath of blossoms to indicate Mary's virtues, virtues that were to be imitated by the faithful. The ceremony usually takes place in the context of a public parish devotion outside of the liturgy.

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May Crowning Suggestions:

Everyone Crowns
Recommendation for pre-schoolers and younger elementary school children.

[flower crown]

For the little ones, a "different" kind of crowning.
Have all the children participate. Here's how:

  • Make a big crown out of chicken wire or similar wire with holes large enough to stick flower stems through it. A good size for a normal congregation is about two and half feet high and three feet wide. (Once this is made, your parish can use it year after year.) The crown will be "flat" - or semi-curved. Set it up in front of the main altar or in front of the Marian altar - just high enough so the congregation can see, but that the children can reach it. You may wish to pre-decorate the edges somewhat with greens.
  • Have every child bring whatever flowers can be found: lilacs, dandelions... or even just green leaves or fresh tips of evergreens. Most little children know the joy of bringing mom a gift of a bouquet. (Be sure to have a pail of extras for those who forget; funeral homes are very obliging in providing suggestions, too.) The little bouquet stands for the love the child has for mom. This also applies to our love for Mary, Jesus' mother and our mother.

  • Explain that every flower is different! Every flower is God's gift. This one reminds us of this, and that of that. There truly is no one single symbolic meaning to any flower. The children can be creative and think of whatever it means to them.

  • Ideal would be that your Mary statue (or icon/picture!) also has Jesus on it! Mother and Child undivided! You can then explain to the little ones that the reason we thank Mary is that she brought Jesus to us. We thank Mary and love her because she loved Jesus! She also loves us and wants to do everything possible to bring us to Jesus. When Jesus was a little boy, He probably picked His mother flowers, too—just as we do—and took them to Mary!

  • During the actual ceremony, have a procession that EVERYONE takes part in. During the procession decades of the rosary, interspersed with songs, can be prayed and sung.

  • Have three "moms" positioned behind the crown. The children (and all participants) stick in the flower stems, the moms pull from behind to make sure the flowers stay in and get spaced a bit. Line the little ones up two or three in a row in the procession so that it goes quickly enough. (Too long is very bad for the little ones!)

  • The crown will last only a day, but it will be beautiful! The children will ALL have crowned, and it will have been a joyful time for them.
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The following celebration was prepared for large gatherings of mother-daughter May meetings in parishes. The celebrations took place at the meetings, after Sunday liturgies, or within the context of Benedictions on Sunday afternoons. See further practical suggestions at http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/resources/crowning.html
 

A Marian Coronation Celebration for Parishes



Coronation of Mary

Priest/
Leader

Let us adore the infinite love of God, sent to us in his beloved Son.

P/L

Your mercy, 0 Lord, reaches to heaven; your faithfulness touches the clouds and the tiny blade of grass.

A

Your righteousness fills the earth; your justice is more profound than the depths of the sea; you have brought us salvation.

P/L

How precious, 0 Lord, is your grace; your children find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

A

They refresh themselves in the wealth of your house; you have them drink from the brook of Your delights.

P/L

You are the source of life; in you we find truth and the light.

A

Grant your grace to all who wish to know you, and extend your just rule over all who live with sincere hearts.

P/L

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

A

As it was in the beginning ... Amen.

Sing Refrain

Glory and praise to our God, who alone gives light to our days.
Many are the blessings He bears to those who trust in His ways.

P/L

Savior, our Lord and King! On the throne of your cross you bestowed on us a precious legacy, a gift cherished from generation to generation. you have given us your mother. "Look, there is your mother!" These words are your last will and testament for us. Mary was  meant not only to give birth to you but also to continue working with you for all times to establish the kingdom of the Father on this earth.

Sing Refrain

Glory and praise to our God, who alone gives light to our days.
Many are the blessings He bears to those who trust in His ways.

P/L

Mary is our model. She said yes to you, Lord. You made yourself dependent on her free and loving yes. She said yes from the moment of your conception, and never took back her yes at any time. We know well that her yes led her to experience everything that is bitter on life's journey; nevertheless, because you were with her, the bitter journey was transformed to a journey of joy.

Sing

Glory and praise to our God, who alone gives light to our days.
Many are the blessings He bears to those who trust in His ways.

P/L

Mary, Mother of Jesus and our beloved Blessed Mother, we gather around you here in this place, for we believe you are among us. From the bottom of our hearts, we accept the great gift of our crucified Lord: "There is your mother!" Prove, Mary, that you are our spiritual mother. Prove that you are the spiritual mother of our parish and of our diocese.

A

Show us that you are the spiritual mother of all peoples, that you are the mother of our country which is dedicated to your immaculate conception. Do for us what a mother does: guide us, educate us, lead us to Christ, your only Son.

P/L

Prove that you are the spiritual mother and model of our church. Teach us by your example how to love Jesus and how to care for one another. Show us what it means to walk with Jesus day by day, to learn from Him, and to do what He tells us.

A

Mary, we believe that in our baptism our destiny may one day reflect your destiny. The great things that the Lord has done for you, He is ready to do for us if we do what He commands. Help us cooperate with the grace that He wishes to bestow on us.

Sing

Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing.
You reign now in heaven with Jesus our King.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Maria!

In heaven the blessed your glory proclaim;
On earth we your children invoke your fair name.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Maria!

We pray for our mother, the Church upon earth,
And bless, Holy Mary, the land of our birth.
Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Maria!

P/L

Mary, we need your assistance. You are a mother who shelters and prays for us. You are the model for those who want to be faithful followers of Christ. Above all, you wish that Christ be born in us anew.

A

It is your desire that Christ be given new birth in the hearts of all persons everywhere. You, our sister in faith who journeys with us, desire to see our hearts transformed and shaped into the heart of Jesus. Educate us to become Christ-centered, strong and loving persons who help bring about the Christian renewal of the world.

[This following ancient text is based on the lament of St. Bernard of Clairvaux]

Reader 1

We look at the Blessed Mother; this is the cry that comes from the lips of the elderly. Mary must help us bear all the loneliness and misery that comes with advanced age; she must walk with us through the dark gates of death into a better world.

Reader 2

We look at the Blessed Mother; she is the hope of the fathers and mothers among us. With the mother who guides and educates we dare to let our children go out onto the stormy ocean of public and social life. We know they need a mother, a model, and a sure refuge.

A

Blessed Mother, if you go into the battle of life with us and our children, we will dare to take up the struggle again and again. While on earth, you showed us how to master life, so we trust that we and our children will be blessed with victory over sin and the darkness of evil.

Reader 1

We look at the Blessed Mother, the youth of our parish, our young men and women, admit their need. With the protection and guidance of Mary's immaculate heart it will be possible to enter life with an undefiled heart and a pure, strong ability to love faithfully.

Reader 2

We look at the Blessed Mother, the children call out in their happy children's voices. With her care and wise education we can grow in body and soul. Our journey of faith, too, will benefit if we look time and again at the Holy Family's faith.

Reader 1

We look at the Blessed Mother, Our priests and pastors proclaim solemnly to everyone: Mary is the great missionary; she must and can work miracles of transformation in our lives. She can and will provide a home for our restless hearts.

Reader 2

Mary, you are a queen! The most Blessed Trinity has confidently placed the welfare of the Church into your powerful and gentle motherly hands, just as that same Church is entrusted to each of us at our confirmation. You will lead the pilgrim people of God home to his infinite loving heart. Giving you the crown is a symbolic way to entrust to you once more the full responsibility for this task.

P/L

Yes, Mary, this is what it means when we give you a crown! The crown symbolizes all the dignity and beauty that God Himself has bestowed upon you! The crown also symbolizes your right to act as a queen and leader, as a mother and educator in and for the kingdom of God on earth.

A

We wish to crown you because of our personal helplessness in facing the deep distress of our times. We struggle to find God and we search His inscrutable ways. We struggle with the distress of faith and the lack of it. Please fold your hands in prayer on our behalf! Tell your divine Son as you once did in Cana of Galilee, "Lord, they have no wine!" Ask the Lord again and again to work miracles of peace, unity and prosperity for the poor and suffering.

P/L

Mary, we wish to crown you to acknowledge our gratitude to you for your part in the coming of Jesus Christ and, hence, in the redemption of the world. We trust that in the future you will take the destiny of our world and of our nation into your powerful yet kind and motherly hands. Serve us with the good wine of the Lord's salvation. Hear the cries of the unborn, the elderly, the sorrowing and the suffering!

A

Take our flowers for your crown. Let them represent our wish to wind you a wreath of joy and thanksgiving for the coming era. Let us work with you, our sister in faith, to make the coming millennium a Christ-centered age in which our people will do what He tells us! Be our queen! Teach us what immense dignity there is our Christian calling. Grant peace and joy to our hearts, grant peace and joy to our families, grant peace and joy to our parish. Lead our nation to follow paths of justice, and assist each of us to be worthy to wear the crown of our calling that the Lord has prepared for us at the end of our journey.

P/L

The day will come when God will call us to leave our hearth and home for the eternal kingdom. Mary, we ask you to remain here to strengthen the faith of our children and their children, and to help them find their way home to the heart of God.

Left

When we worry about our eternal salvation and the salvation of our family, friends and relatives, we will remember the Lord's promises fulfilled in Mary!

Right

When we are distressed by the realization that our family and friends are in great danger, we will remember the Lord's promises fulfilled in Mary!

Left

When our children become teenagers and the destructive influence of the environment tears down the walls which our love and faithfulness erected in their hearts, we will remember the Lord's promises fulfilled in Mary!

Right

When evil powers battle for our hearts and the hearts of our dear ones, we will remember the Lord's promises fulfilled in Mary!

Left

When our own laziness and the bad example of others or of worldly surroundings keep us away from reconciliation and communion, we will remember the Lord's promises fulfilled in Mary!

Right

When death reaches out its cold hands to touch our hearts, when we suffer the agony of the dying, we will remember the Lord's promises fulfilled in Mary!

Left

And, Mary, when at last we may come home, when we face our good and mighty God to give an account of all our words and actions, we will remember Lord's promises fulfilled in you! We will rest secure in your motherly heart and proclaim with joy the greatness of the Lord as you have done.

A

Mary, you are the joy of those in heaven, the help of those on earth, the consolation of those still burdened by their sins. Accept our May blossoms, accept each flower as a symbol of praise and thanksgiving! Thank you for your cooperation in the plan that changed the destiny of the world. Teach us, Mary, teach us, that we, too, may make the place where we are a little paradise for God.

Mary, Mother and Queen, accept our crown!

During the Coronation: Sing (or alternate)

SING:

Bring flowers of the rarest, bring flowers of the fairest
From garden and woodland and hillside and vale;
Our full hearts are swelling, our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest Rose of the vale.

Refrain:
Oh Mary, we crown you with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.:

Our voices ascending, in harmony blending,
Oh, thus may our hearts turn, dear Mother, to you.
Oh, thus shall we prove you how truly we love you;
How dark without Mary life's journey would be. (Ref.)

Concluding Prayer:

P/L

Queen of our hearts, your destiny is meant to be our destiny. Teach us to love our God as you did, to love our neighbors as you did and, above all, to love our family as you loved yours. We consecrate ourselves and our loved ones to you with the ancient prayer:

A

My Queen, my Mother, I give myself entirely to you, and to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my entire self without reserve. As I am your own, my good Mother, guard me and defend me as your property and possession. Amen.

[If a Benediction is planned, use missalette for rubrics.]

Conclusion: Sing following hymn or alternative.

SING:

Words and Music: Maria Parkinson ("Ave Maria")

1.  As I kneel before you, as I bow my head in pray'r,
take this day, make it yours and fill me with your love.

Refrain:
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum, benedicta tu.

2. All I have I give you, ev'ry dream and wish are yours.
Mother of Christ, Mother of mine, present them to my Lord. (Refrain)

3. As I kneel before you, and I see your smiling face,
ev'ry thought, ev'ry word is lost in your embrace. (Refrain)

 

by M. Jean Frisk
 
This material can be used in parishes and adapted according to the needs of the parish. It is not available for publication.
M. Jean Frisk.

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This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by M. J. Frisk , was last modified Thursday, 06/13/2013 08:51:44 EDT by Ann Zlotnik . Please send any comments to jroten1@udayton.edu.