Historically, May is a month dedicated by the Catholic Church to Mary, the Mother of God. As is well known, Mary plays an important and irreplaceable role in the spiritual life of the Church.
To honor the role the Blessed Virgin plays in the life of the Church, many Parishes and Catholic schools in the Diocese have May Crowning ceremonies during which a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is given a crown of flowers. May is also the time when young Catholics often receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion for the first time.
One example of this tradition was found St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Port Charlotte. A May Crowning prayer service took place in the school courtyard on May 6, 2022, presided over by Father Phillip Scheff, Parochial Vicar.
The prayers, songs and intercessions were led by the second graders, dressed in white to commemorate that they were to receive their First Holy Communion in May. The prayer service opened with each second grader bringing a flower forward to place before the statue of Mary. The actual crowning of Mary was by Betty Nolan, Student Government President.
St. Charles Borromeo Principal Tonya Peters said the students pray for the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary each day, and the May Crowning ceremony is part of a month-long focus during which the students learned more about Our Lady and her role in the Church.
In addition, at Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish, the entire student body took part in a procession May 2, 2022, from the school to the Parish Church, about a half-mile. The students were led by the school Pro-Life Club, reciting the rosary as well as singing. Father David Vidal, Pastor of Ave Maria Parish, presided over the procession and following prayer service and crowning.
Meanwhile, at St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, the May Crowning took place on May 8, 2022. A statue of Mary, which sits in a grotto outside of the Parish Hall, was crowned in a ceremony after Mass and included families and many children.
These are just a few examples of how the Blessed Virgin Mary is being honored throughout May in Diocesan Parishes and Catholic schools.