May – The Month of Mary

I remember with great fondness the May Crownings of my childhood…nothing said “spring is here” more powerfully than a good May Crowning.

Are May Crownings passe? Hopefully not. As catechists, a May Crowning is a good opportunity for us to help those we teach understand that Catholics do not worship Mary but rather honor her.

May Crownings may be considered out of date by some but, with the proper catechesis, they can continue to be a wonderful devotion and a way to bring us closer to Jesus. So what makes for “sound” Marian devotion? In his apostolic exhortation on Mary, Marialis Cultus (To Honor Mary), Pope Paul VI outlined five characteristics that are required, saying that sound Marian devotions and good Marian theology must be:

  1. Biblical – rooted in the testimony of Scripture.
  2. Liturgical – in tune with the great liturgical seasons. (Paul VI named especially Advent, where Mary joins the Church in expecting the birth of the Messiah, and then Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit of the Church.)
  3. Ecumenical – in harmony with the agreements we have reached with fellow Christian Churches.
  4. Anthropological – be sensitive to the changing role of women in society (i.e. to present Mary as a woman who was passive and subservient does not resonate with the perception of women in today’s society).
  5. Theological – have God at the center—with Mary placed in relation to Christ and to the Church.

You can celebrate a simple May Crowning with those you teach by doing the following:

  • Place a statue of Mary on a pedestal.
  • Sing a hymn honoring Mary.
  • Read a Scripture passage about Mary such as Luke 1:26-38 (the Annunciation); Luke 1:39-45 (the Visitation); Luke 2:6-12 (the Nativity); Luke 2:41-50 (the boy Jesus in the Temple); Luke 23:27-29 (Mary meets Jesus carrying his cross); John 19:25-30 (Mary at the foot of the cross).
  • Offer a brief reflection on the role of Mary as the first disciple.
  • Walk in procession while singing or playing a Marian hymn.
  • Place a garland of flowers on the head of the statue.
  • Pray the Hail, Mary, the Hail, Holy Queen, or the Memorare.

By the way, click here for a good list of other Marian resources for catechists. Also, if you are looking for a good explanation of why May is considered the month of Mary, click here.

About Joe Paprocki 2157 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

5 Comments on May – The Month of Mary

  1. Joe,

    I have a great story to tell regarding the Crowning of Mary.
    4 years ago my daughter was asked to dress in her Communion Dress and be the central figure in the ceremony.
    She did so with great character and it was beautiful!
    The best part was that she had a Softball game right after the ceremony!
    The ceremony went well and my baby girl ran inside the hosue to change in to her softball uniform for the game that was to begin in 20 minutes.
    I thought to myself, is this not Mary in all her glory?
    Conduct the Ceremony with Grace and after that go play ball!
    I am sure Mary would be a great short stop, team leader and an inspiration to her teammates.
    Real life and our Love of Mary.
    She could pray with us and play with us.

    Joe D.

  2. Joe,
    I just posted a picture on my blog of myself as a young girl crowning the May Queen.
    It’s a wonderful tradition and a shame that it seems to have fallen by the wayside.
    Thanks for the insightful post.

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