Catholics have traditionally reserved the month of May to honor Mary in a special way. In fact Pope Paul IV wrote a beautiful encyclical on the Month of May in which he explained the many reasons and ways in which we might celebrate Our Blessed Mother:
“For this is the month during which Christians, in their churches and their homes, offer the Virgin Mother more fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God’s merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother’s throne.”
Pope Paul VI goes on to say that May is an opportune time to let our petitions fly to Our Lady—especially for the needs of the Church and the whole human race—that most urgently require our Blessed Mother’s intercession.
One of the ways we can celebrate with our families is to have a May Crowning. While this is often done in a group setting such as at a parish event or at a school, a May crowning can also be done simply and reverently right in your own home or backyard. Here are five steps we can easily follow to do a May Crowning at home:
1. Choose a statue
You might already have a statue of Mary in your home or outside in a yard or garden that you can use for this purpose. The Catholic Company also offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor Marian statues. Click the images below to shop some of our favorites!
2. Make a wreath or gather flowers in a vase.
First measure the head of the statue you wish to use. Then you can use real or artificial flowers and some garden wire to make a wreath. Simply cut the flower stems about 1-2 inches from the flower and weave the stem around the wire so that each new stem has wire to secure it. Finish the wreath by cutting the wire and wrapping it two or three times around itself so that the sharp end does not protrude.
3. Say a prayer or sing a hymn to Mary
You may process with the children to the statue or simply place the wreath on the head of Mary. If there is a child who has recently received First Holy Communion, perhaps he or she might be the one to place the crown on Mary's head.
Then say a Marian prayer together. There are many beautiful Marian prayers and hymns, such as the Memorare or the Hail Holy Queen. Another wonderful prayer is the Prayer of Praise to Our Lady composed by St. Ephraim.
Singing a hymn to Mary is also a wonderful way to honor her. The Regina Caeli and the Salve Regina (the Hail Holy Queen in Latin) are two traditional hymns that are also quite consoling. The below video is an excellent guide to learning to sing the Salve Regina:
4. Make a special treat
Make a tray of cookies or bake this special "Blue Velvet Cake" by Paula Deen as a treat to celebrate Our Blessed Mother.
5. Read a book about Mary to your children (or to yourself!)
May is a wonderful opportunity to increase our devotion to the Blessed Mother, and one way to do that is simply by reading more about her. There is no shortage of great Catholic books on Mary that unpack the mysteries of her life, virtues, and perfect union with her son, Jesus, and the treasures of grace this unfolds in the life of every Christian who turns to her in faith.
Read a special children's book about Mary aloud to your children or make a goal to read one for yourself during this month of Mary.
Let us also "let our petitions fly to Our Lady"— for the needs of our families, the Church, and the whole human race!
What other ways do you celebrate the Month of Mary?