Each May, Catholics across the globe celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary, holy mother to us all. Through parish and classroom celebrations, we can show our love and respect for Mary and share her importance with those we teach.
There are a variety of traditional activities that parishes use to celebrate Mary, such as the May Crowning or a special Rosary, novena, or prayer service. These are all good, but if you are looking for some different ideas, try some of these.
- When working with children, take advantage of the fact that they are usually blessed with vibrant imaginations. Give them the opportunity to use that imagination by reading them the Bible story of the boy Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41–52). Ask them to pretend that they are Jesus and Mary is their mother, frantically searching for them when they are missing for three days. Ask the children to reflect on the story. Why did Jesus leave his parents? Why didn’t Mary or Joseph punish Jesus when they found him? What do you think it means when the story says Jesus “was obedient to them”?
- Create Mother’s Day cards for Mary. Ask the children to think about Mary as their mother, as well as Jesus’. Invite them to create cards for Mary with prayers to her, thanks for blessings, and pictures they’ve drawn. The cards can then be placed at the foot of the statue of Mary during or after the May Crowning.
- If you are meeting with adults, start a discussion on Mary’s “yes” to God, in which she accepted the call to be the mother of Jesus. Begin by reading the Gospel account of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary (Luke 1:26–38). Afterward, provide an explanation on the social structures of the day, including how betrothals were carried out, how old Mary would have been, and what becoming pregnant when not living with her husband would have meant socially.
- Walk your group through some basic Ignatian contemplation, and help them to experience the Bible passage at a deeper level by reflecting on all the thoughts, feelings, and fears they would have experienced if they had been in Mary’s place.
While we honor Mary all year round, May is a special time to remember her role in our salvation. How do you honor Mary in your parish? Have you used this poster of Marian devotions with accompanying classroom handouts?
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