“Bring flowers of the rarest, bring blossoms the fairest,” the cathedral choir sang each spring of my childhood for the annual May Crowning of the Mary statue. In white dresses with blue ribbons, the young girls of St. Patrick’s in Fort Worth, Texas, would process up to the statue and place a crown of flowers on her head. I treasure these memories to this day.
But even if your parish doesn’t do a May Crowning, your family has a host of options in the month of May to honor the Blessed Mother and deepen your devotion to her. Wherever you are in the journey of parenting, it’s not too late to give your children the precious gift of Marian devotion—forged in childhood and unfolding throughout their lives.
So, get out your calendars and choose one of these dates: First Saturday devotions (May 7); Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament (May 13); Our Lady of Fatima (May 13); Mary, Help of Christians (May 24); Our Lady, Queen of Apostles (the Saturday following the Ascension; Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces (May 31); or the Feast of the Visitation (May 31).
On the day you choose, here are 7 ways to launch or hit “reset” on your family’s devotion to our Blessed Mother:
1 | Do a May crowning in your own home. You can use a series of prayers (here’s one parish’s example of a simple service), sing together, and your children can crown your Mary statue with flowers. This can become an annual tradition they will never forget.
2 | Begin First Saturday devotions as a family. Circle Saturday, May 7 on the calendar, and choose this day as the start of a particular Marian devotion (e.g., the Rosary or Angelus) that you then continue going forward on other first Saturdays this year.
3 | Launch or restart your family Rosary. Ever’s parents gathered the kids every night at 9 p.m. to pray the Rosary. As a wedding gift, Ever’s sisters gave us a lovely set of prints depicting each of the mysteries. By displaying the day’s five mysteries at our home altar, our kids are better able to focus on each one.
4 | Consecrate your family to the Blessed Mother. A novena or even a 30-day consecration process can prepare your family for a beautiful moment—even a turning point—of deepened trust in Our Lady’s fiat, intercession, and protection.
5 | Purchase a Marian statue, icon, or other image to display prominently at your home altar or elsewhere in your home or even yard. This can become your family’s focal point for a deepening devotion to our Blessed Mother. A little vase for fresh flowers in front of the statue can be a small yet powerful expression of your family’s love for her.
6 | Make a pilgrimage to a nearby Marian shrine. During the drive, lead a conversation with your kids about the Blessed Mother—her fiat, how she always points us to her son, and how you have personally experienced her intercession and protection.
7 | Do a family movie night and watch one of the movies about Fatima, such as The Miracle of Our Lady of Fátima, Apparitions at Fátima, or Fátima.
“[T]he month of May is a powerful incentive to more fervent and trusting prayer,” wrote Pope St. Paul VI in his 1965 Letter on the Occasion of the First of May, “because during it our petitions find their way more easily to the compassionate heart of Our Blessed Lady.”
He continued in words that leap off the page for us today: “This year … when we look at the present needs of the Church or at the state of peace in the world, we have compelling reasons for believing that the present hour is especially grave; that it makes a call for united prayer from the whole Christian people more than ever a matter of urgency.”
“O Mary! We crown thee with blossoms today,” the refrain of “Bring Flowers of the Rarest” goes, “Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.” May is here. And there is no better time to give our children the gift of what we pray will be a lifelong devotion to the Queen of May.
Our Lady, Mother of Mercy and Queen of Families, pray for us!