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4 Ways to Celebrate May as Mary’s Month - by Mary Ellen Barrett

4 Ways to Celebrate May as Mary’s Month

3 minutes

Summary

Having a month that is especially dedicated to the Mary is one of the more beautiful aspects of our Catholic heritage…

Having a month that is especially dedicated to the Blessed Mother is one of the more beautiful aspects of our Catholic heritage.

This devotion has been especially encouraged by many popes.

Pope Paul VI wrote a short encyclical, Mense Maio: On Prayers during May for the Preservation of Peace.

Pope St. John Paul II also encouraged the faithful’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin:

“From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s Will in all things. From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary we learn to love Christ her Son and the Son of God!”  (Address, Washington DC, 10/6/1979)

As a homeschooling mom I love to take time during this month to encourage my children to love their Mother in Heaven with great devotion and fervor.

All of our children should take great solace in the love of the Queen of Heaven and should be taught to turn to her as a source of immeasurable grace.

While we pray our Rosary and practice other devotions all year, in May I like to celebrate Our Lady in a particularly special way.

Here are some ideas that you might like to try this year.

1. Plant a Garden

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Did you know many flowers have names that honor Mary? Some have fallen out of common use since the Protestant Reformation but many flowers originally had Marian names.

Marigolds, Rose of Sharon, and Rosemary are well known but bluebells were originally called Our Lady’s Thimble, Hostas were Assumption Lilies, and Monkshood was Mary’s Slipper. Check out the beautiful Mary’s Garden website.

Visit the beautiful Mary’s Garden website for more information and inspiration (see the link below). You can print the list of Mary plants, bring them with you to the nursery and plant your own Mary garden. In most parts of the country this is the perfect time for planting.

2. May Crowning

In the recent past many parishes have put aside this beautiful tradition, but there is no reason why you can’t host your own May crowning whether or not your parish does one.

All you need is a large enough Mary statue (Catholic bookstores are a good source for inexpensive statues) and some flowers (fakes are fine).

4 Ways to Celebrate May as Mary’s Month - by Mary Ellen Barrett

Mary Crowned Copyright Catholic World Report

Invite a few families and if there are any first communicants in the crowd, ask them to don their finery for the occasion. It’s traditional for a first communicant to crown Our Lady, or to have the smallest child take on the honor. It’s also a nice idea to encourage the other children to wear some blue to further honor Our Lady.

You can play a Marian hymn or have the children sing and process around the yard. Keep the music going until the crowning takes place and then lead a decade of the Rosary. End the festivities with punch and cookies.

Keep Mary in a place of honor in your home and/or garden for the remainder of the month.

3. Make a May Basket

Making Mary baskets is a lovely tradition that involves a prettily decorated basket being left anonymously on someone’s door.

A friend of mine, Alice Gunther, found a way to take this tradition and use it to create something beautiful for Mary. Marian May Baskets are simply square pieces of pretty scrapbook paper glued or taped into a cone shape and decorated with ribbon and flowers.

When you finish decorating, fill them with holy cards, rosary beads and a sweet or two.

4 Ways to Celebrate May as Mary’s Month - by Mary Ellen Barrett

We have been making these for many years now and delivering them to neighbors and friends, as well as using them as favors for first Holy Communion celebrations. It’s a simple, sweet craft that is very inexpensive and quick to make.

Alice Gunther at Marian Crafts has many lovely May crafts online to bring further beauty and fun to your celebrations.

4. Learn the Litany of Loreto

The Litany of Loreto (approved by Pope Sixtus V in 1587) is a litany including some fifty-one titles of Mary that refer to her part in the salvation story.

It is another beautiful devotion that seems to be dying away but homeschooling moms can easily include it as part of their daily prayer time with the children. Explaining the meaning behind some of the titles, such as Mirror of Justice or Ark of the Covenant makes the litany more approachable to young ones.

Tradition has it that the House of Loreto was the actual home of the Holy Family in Nazareth and during the Crusades, to save it from destruction by Muslims, angels carried the home to Loreto and a basilica was built around it in 1429. In honor of the flight of the Holy Family from Bethlehem to Egypt, Our Lady of Loreto was chosen as the patron saint of pilots.

However you choose to make May Mary’s month, the most important thing is to foster love for the Queen of Heaven, whose great wish is for our children to someday be with her and her Son in Heaven.

A relationship with Mary will serve to cradle them in love and faith for their whole lives and is well worth our efforts.

Ad Jesum Per Mariam.

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About Mary Ellen Barrett

Mary Ellen Barrett
Mother of seven children and two in heaven, Mary is wife to David and a lifelong New Yorker. She has homeschooled her children for eleven years using Seton and an enormous amount of books. She is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and blogs here . Meet Mary Ellen.
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