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May the month of Mary

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

This Sunday at our parishes we will have May Crowning of our Blessed Mother. The Little Flowers will assist with May Crowning at St. Michael.

During this month of May, I encourage all of us to renew ourselves in loving devotion to our Blessed Mother! The Virgin Mary unfailingly leads us to Jesus and teaches us how to trust in His merciful Love!

We begin the month of May, like so many of our ancestors in the Catholic Faith, by crowning our Blessed Mother Mary! Why have Catholics practiced this devotion for so many centuries and why do we still do it today? Here is some history and more information about why we honor our dear Blessed Mother by crowing her as our Mother and Queen:

“Since the Council of Nicea in 787, the Church has often asserted that it is lawful to venerate images of Christ, Mary and the Saints.

This is an ancient practice of the Christian churches in both the East and in the West. As the official liturgical Order of Crowning an Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary [published in 1987 by the United States Catholic Conference] states: Coronation of Mary: Coronation is one form of reverence frequently shown to images of the Blessed Virgin Mary... It is especially from the end of the sixteenth century that in the West the practice became widespread for the faithful, both religious and laity, to crown images of the Blessed Virgin. The popes not only endorsed this devout custom but ‘on many occasions, either personally or through bishop-delegates, carried out the coronation of Marian images.’ [See Pius XII, Encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam, Oct 11, 1954].

In the seventeenth century a special rite was composed for the coronation of religious images of Jesus, Mary and the Saints. In the nineteenth century a rite was written for crowning images of Mary. New rites were approved by the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship in Rome of March 25, 1981. The English translation was approved by the Administrative Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States on March 24, 1987 and confirmed ad interim by the Apostolic see by decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship on May 22, 1987. The new Order of Crowning includes three types of Coronation.

Why put a crown on Mary's head? The queen symbol was attributed to Mary because she is a perfect follower of Christ, who is the absolute 'Crown' of creation. As the Order of Crowning states: She is the Mother of the Son of God, who is the Messianic King. Mary is the Mother of Christ, the Word Incarnate... ‘He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His Kingdom there will be no end.’ [Luke 1:32-33] Elizabeth greeted the Blessed Virgin, pregnant with Jesus, as ‘the Mother of my Lord.’ [Luke 1:41-43]

She is the perfect follower of Christ. The maid of Nazareth consented to God's plan; she journeyed on the pilgrimage of Faith; she listened to God's Word and kept It in her heart; she remained steadfastly in close union with her Son, all the way to the foot of the Cross; she persevered in prayer with the Church. Thus in an eminent way she won the "crown of righteousness," [See 2 Timothy 4:8] the ‘crown of life,’ [See James 1:12; Revelation 2:10] the ‘crown of glory’ [See 1 Peter 5:4] that is promised to those who follow Christ.

How is Mary crowned? In the United States, a custom developed that grew in popularity prior to the Vatican Council II. In parishes, at Marian shrines, and at grottos, someone was chosen to place awreath of flowers on Mary's image. This ceremony usually took place in May and often in the context of a Benediction, a special Rosary celebration, and sometimes at the closing of Holy Mass.

The practice continues in many parishes throughout the United States. Many parishes have found innovative ways to express their reverence for the dignity of Mary, the Mother of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (taken from: coronation.php; written by M. Jean Frisk, S.S.M.)

Through the intercession of Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, St. Joseph, St. Michael and St. Paul, may it please our good Lord to bless and strengthen us with the Holy Spirit, that we may love and serve Him faithfully and generously each day!

In Christ through Mary,

Fr. Kasel


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