It is a Catholic tradition to honor Mary, our Heavenly Mother, during the month of May by placing on her statue a crown of flowers to signify her honor as Queen of Heaven and Earth. This devotional ceremony is a favorite tradition at Parishes and Catholic schools throughout the Diocese.
The May Crowning gives the faithful, but children in particular, an opportunity to especially honor the Blessed Mother of Jesus, and to give thanks to her for bringing our Savior into the world.
Typically, “May Crownings” include a procession with children, dressed in their best for this special day, a hymn, a devotional prayer, and the crowning of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a wreath of flowers. During the Pandemic, adjustments were made.
The practice of crowning an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary gained popularity in the 19th century. There are many reasons why queenship has been attributed to Mary; some of the most common reasons are as follows: first, she is the Mother of the Son of God, who is the messianic King. Also, Mary is the perfect disciple of Christ; she consented to God’s plan; 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; and she persevered in prayer with the Church. Thus, in an eminent way, she won the crown of glory that is promised to those who follow Christ.
For example, on May 12, 2021, St. Joseph Catholic School held its May Crowning in the main courtyard, which includes a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a rosary garden. Second graders, those who were soon to receive the Sacrament of First Holy Communion, brought flowers to place in a vase before the statue while the school choir sang in honor of the Blessed Mother.
St. Joseph Parish Pastor Rafal Ligenza led the prayer service reading from the Gospel of Luke, telling of the story of the Annunciation of Mary. Father also led the children in a Litany of Mary, calling on the Blessed Virgin, in her many titles, to pray for them all. This was followed by the crowning of the statue. Father then led the students in the Act of Consecration to Mary.
Principal Deborah Suddarth said students pray for the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary each day throughout the year with a particular focus on Mary throughout May when students learn more about Our Lady and her role in the Church.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane led a prayer service to Mary on May 3, 2021 for the staff of the Diocese Catholic Center in Venice. This annual tradition includes reciting of prayers and signing hymns in honor of Our Lady.
Pope Francis said the Blessed Virgin Mary’s path of faith and hope serves as an example to all. Therefore, time should be taken to reflect on Our Lady’s participation in the Paschal mystery and in Pentecost at which point the Church has its beginning.
Pope Francis said “the message of hope contained in God’s blessing was fully realized in a woman, Mary, who was destined to become the Mother of God, and it was fulfilled in her before any other creature.” The Holy Father added that “our journey of faith is the same as that of Mary, and so we feel that she is particularly close to us.”
Bishop Dewane consecrated the Diocese of Venice to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary during Advent of 2017. The consecration was the culmination of the structured 33-day “Diocesan Advent Journey to Jesus through Mary.” By this Act of Consecration, the faithful confided the Diocese and its good works to Our Lady so as to fulfill more readily the will of her Divine Son for His Church.
Our Lady is an important symbol throughout the Diocese. Our Lady of Mercy is the Patroness of the Diocese of Venice and is the name of a Parish in Boca Grande. In addition, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Retreat Center in Venice bears Her name, and numerous other Parishes are named in honor of Our Lady including: St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Longboat Key; Our Lady of the Angels, Lakewood Ranch; Our Lady of Grace, Avon Park; Our Lady of Guadalupe, Immokalee; Our Lady of Light, Fort Myers; Our Lady of Miraculous Medal, Bokeelia; Our Lady of Lourdes, Venice; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Osprey; Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Sarasota; and Our Lady Queen of Heaven, LaBelle.
On the Monday following Pentecost, May 24, 2021, the Church will celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as “Mother of the Church” as directed by Pope Francis. The Memorial for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, was added to the Roman Calendar by Pope Francis 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.”
One week later, on May 31, is the Feast the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary which marks the visit of the pregnant Mary to her cousin Elizabeth.