Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Our Lady's Month

May, The Month Of The Blessed Virgin Mary
I have know for some time that the month of May is one of the months dedicated to our Blessed Mother Mary, but it is not until this year that I have really know why, and how it is usually celebrated and observed. I found some great information about it online and here is what I learned. . .

Let's start with a short history.
The Tradition of dedicating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary started as the end of the 13th century to Christianize secular feasts. 
In the 16th century there were books found that fostered this Devotion.
In the 1700's the practice had become popular with the Jesuit order and with their students. A short time later it was practiced in the Gesu church in Rome, from there it spread throughout the whole church. 
It is said that the tradition of honoring Mary with devotions for the whole month of May originated in Italy, and from there, spread around the world in the 19th century. 

Many Popes have had great devotions to Mary and celebrated the month of May with special devotions to her. 

Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical on the Month of May, said that “During this month Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration. In this month, too, the benefits of God’s mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance.” 

In May 2002 John Paul II said: “Today we begin the month dedicated to Our Lady a favourite of popular devotion. In accord with a long-standing tradition of devotion, parishes and families continue to make the month of May a ‘Marian’ month, celebrating it with many devout liturgical, catechetical and pastoral initiatives!”
 Ways to celebrate and honor our Blessed Mother this month include:
  • Reciting the Rosary daily (especially as a family).
  • Singing Marian anthems.
  • Praying special Marian prayers and novenas (The Angelus is another good prayer to say daily.)
  • Celebrating mass, especially on her feast days.
  • Making an alter for Mary using a statue or image of her surrounded with fresh May flowers.
  • Crowning a statue of Mary with a simple crown of flowers.
Crowning a statue of Our Lady with a wreath or crown of blossoms is probably one of the practices that is done and most recognized today. It is done to signify that Mary is the Queen of Heaven and Mother of God. In some places, a crown of flowers is placed on a statue or image of Mary on May 1st, but since it often lands on a weekday, it is done on Mother's day in most Catholic churches in the United States. You can celebrate the crowning of Mary at most Catholic churches during a special ceremony like a benediction, special rosary or the closing of mass. Children who go to Catholic school often have a special service presided by a priest that is celebrated with the whole school. It consists of readings, prayers, songs and usually ends with a special procession to crown a statue of Our Mother. You can also celebrate crowning Mary as a family at home. A simple way to do it would be to say the rosary together and then crown one of your statues or images of Mary with a homemade wreath of flowers. (real or plastic flowers can be used).

 A secular celebration for the month of May that I have learned about is making a baskets, wreaths or arrangements of May flowers to leave as a surprise for your neighbors at their door. This is a tradition that has developed here in the USA from long ago and far away, and is still done here in some places today. To me, this sounds like a great way to start the month of Our Blessed Mother. I very much want it to be a tradition in my family and plan to start it this next month. It just seems like such a fun and nice thing to do with family for others. Along with giving flowers to the neighbors, we will of course set aside some pretty posies for Mary. :)

As part of my devotion to Mary, I will be posting a different prayer, anthem, hymn, etc. for every day of the month of May here on my blog as a way to honor her.

I highly recommend  reading True Devotion to Mary, by  St. Louis de Montfort. It is an amazing book, sure to inspire a deeper devotion and love for Our Blessed Mother and her Son, Jesus. 
 Feast days of Our Lady in May: 
13 May - Our Lady of Fatima
13 May - Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament
24 May - Mary, Help of Christians
31 May - Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces
31 May - Visitation

31 May - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Some other books you might enjoy about Mary: 

  • Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn  
  • The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Anne Catherine Emmerich
  • Medjugorje: The Message by Wayne Weible

I hope everyone has a very happy and blessed May! 
P.S. Please check out my post for my give away! It ends at the end of April so you still have some time to enter.


1 comment:

  1. I love this Gian so very informative. I especially love your art - my favorite is Mary with the stars around her head. Wow!!! I am going back to your post on our team page and add a link to your blog in case not everyone has it.