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How Catholics Celebrate the Month of May

May crowning

Courtesy of Regina Magazine

Regina Magazine - published on 04/29/15

The practice of crowning of a statue of Mary goes back to the 16th Century and is enjoying a resurgence

In May, Catholics hold a ceremony wherein a statue of the Blessed Mother is crowned by children, accompanied by solemn hymns, joyfully sung. Mary’s crown is made of woven May flowers.

The Catholic practice of assigning a special devotion to each month goes back to the early 16th century. In the late 18th century the May devotion to Mary arose among Jesuits in Rome.  In the early years of the 19th century, it quickly spread throughout the Western Church, and, by the time of Pope Pius IX’s declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, it had become universal.

May crownings in honor of Mary stem from this time and many parishes are reviving them to honor the role that the Blessed Virgin played in our salvation through her fiat–her joyous “Yes” to the will of God. This Irish hymn dates back as far as the 13th Century, though in 1883, Mary E. Walsh adapted it.


Queen of the May  (Bring Flowers of the Rarest)

Bring flowers of the rarest
From garden and woodland
And hillside and vale
Our full hearts are swelling
Our Glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest
Rose of the vale
Our voices ascending,
In harmony blending
Oh! Thus may our hearts turn
Dear Mother, to thee
Oh! Thus shall we prove thee
How truly we love thee
How dark without Mary
Life’s journey would be
O Virgin most tender
Our homage we render
Thy love and protection
Sweet Mother, to win
In danger defend us
In sorrow befriend us
And shield our hearts
From contagion and sin
Of Mothers the dearest
Oh, wilt thou be nearest
When life with temptation
Is darkly replete
Forsake us, O never
Our hearts be they ever
As Pure as the lilies
We lay at thy feet

REFRAIN: O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May
O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today
Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May!

This article was first published in Regina Magazine and is reprinted here with permission.

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Devotions and Feasts
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