Traditionally we celebrate May Crowning with an all-school Mass and feast together on hope as Mary did. Mary’s Crowning in 2020 in the time of Coronavirus looks a little different for our parish and school faith communities.
What is May Crowning?
May Crowning is a traditional Roman Catholic ritual held during the month of May. It is a solemn and beautiful procession, at the end of which a statue of the Blessed Virgin is crowned with a garland or crown of flowers honoring Mary as “the Queen of May.” The procession also includes students from grades K-7 carrying flowers. Our PreK students typically have the honor of adorning the Blessed Mother statue in the main hallway at Saint Patrick Catholic School.
There is a special honor attached to being chosen to crown the statue of the Blessed Mother, and at Saint Patrick Catholic School the honor is always bestowed upon an 8th-grader by a vote of the school faculty and staff.
Our 2020 Marian court included Gracie B., who crowned Mary, and classmates Isabella P. and Kayla J. as the class attendants. As in past years, these young women processed the flowers to Mary, but this year it took place under social distancing guidelines issued by the state of Washington.
Why a Crowning?
The queen symbol was attributed to Mary because she was a perfect follower of Christ, who is the absolute “crown” of creation. She is the Mother of the Son of God, who is the messianic King. Mary is the Mother of Christ.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High;
the Lord 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” (Lk 1:41-43). 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 a way she won the “crown of righteousness” (II Tim 4:8), the “crown of life” (Jas 1:12; Rev 2:10), the “crown of glory” (I Pet 5:4) that is promised to those who follow Christ.
Flowers Named after Mary
The faithful saw Mary’s attributes in the herbs and flowers growing around them. Many flowers and herbs are symbolically associated with Mary’s life and many people create Mary gardens. A Mary garden is a small sacred garden enclosing a statue or shrine of the Virgin Mary. Select flowers, shrubs, and trees associated with Mary are planted in the garden.
Who doesn’t love to sing a song to Mary? There are many Marian hymns that can be sung at a May Crowning include Hail Holy Queen, Immaculate Mary (Ave Maria), or Hail Mary (Gentle Woman).
A Memorial for The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
In 2018, the Vatican announced Pope Francis’ decision that the Church celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as “Mother of the Church” every year on Monday after Pentecost.
Pope Francis added the memorial to the Roman Calendar after carefully considering how the promotion of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under this particular title might encourage growth in “the maternal sense of the Church.”