6 Ways to Honor Mary in May

On Friday May 1st #PrayTogether with Bishop Walkowiak and the faithful of the United States as we renew our consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary on Friday, May 1st! The livestream will be available on the Diocese of Grand Rapids’ Facebook page at 3 p.m. in English and 3:30 p.m. in Spanish.  Printable Renewal of the Consecration of the U.S, to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Catholics have for centuries kept special devotions for our Mother Mary during the month of May, both in public gatherings and in their own homes.
With our households under quarantine, this is the perfect time to bring these beautiful traditions back to our homes. Pope Paul VI , in his 1965 encyclical on the Month of May devotion urged the faithful to make use of this practice which is “gladdening and consoling” – sounds like just what just what we need now!
You can read a brief article on how the month of May became dedicated to honoring our Mother Mary here .

There are any number of ways to celebrate Mary this month – here are just a few:

May Altar – We can honor Mary as the Mother of the Church in our homes – the domestic churches. Maybe you already have a prayer corner that could include a special place for Mary during May. You can honor Mary with a May altar easily with things you may already have at home.

  • Image of the Blessed Mother: Usually a statue of Mary is used, but if you don’t have a statue, a holy card or picture will do, (or check your nativity set for a Mary figurine).
  •  Altar cloth: Cover the table or shelf with blue fabric, tablecloth, or place mat
  •  Candle: Any size or number of candles is fine.
  • Flowers: A bouquet, or a vase to add flowering branches or blooms from your yard as they start to blossom this month.
This special altar is a visual reminder of Mary’s loving and maternal presence in our lives. Praying before it we can, in the words of Pope Paul VI, “let our petitions fly to Our Lady—especially for the needs of the Church and the whole human race—that most urgently require our Blessed Mother’s intercession”.
The Most Holy Rosary – Outside of Mass there is no other prayer more pleasing to our Mother than the Rosary. St. John Paul II in his document on the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary insisted, pleaded, that the whole world pray the Holy Rosary for the salvation of the family and for world peace.
On May 13th we celebrate Our Lady of Fatima who appeared six times to the Shepherd children—Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, insisting upon the praying of the most Holy Rosary. Let us also be obedient children and pray our Mother’s requested prayer.

Learn or pray a new Marian Devotion (there are a lot of them!) Try one of these:

  • Regina Caeli (Queen of Heaven) – this prayer is prayed during the Easter season, traditionally at noon. Why not pray it three times a day — at 9:00 am, 12 noon, and 6:00 pm to sanctify the morning, afternoon, and the evening hours through the holy  and sweet presence of Mary.
  • Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary invokes the many beautiful names of our loving intercessor.
  • During May entrust a special intention to the Blessed Mother with one of these three Novenas to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • Patroness of the Americas – Prayer During Pandemic          
  • More Marian Prayers                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

    web3-mary-may-crowning-first-communion-children-blessing-mother-virgin-statue-boston-catholic-cc-by-nd-2-0May Crowning – Many Catholic churches and families hold a “May Crowning,” presenting Mary with a crown made of blossoms or other hand-crafted materials to signify her Queenship as the Mother of Christ, the King. You can see how to make a simple crown here with ribbon and silk flowers. Sometimes there is a procession with the crown and special hymns can be sung. Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above

    Make a Mary Garden – Having a Mary Garden can provide a quiet place for reflection. Maybe it can be a witness to a neighbor to spark a faith-filled conversation. Usually there is a statue or image of Mary at the center if possible. You can include stepping stones or rocks and of course flowers! There are even flowers that signify Mary that you may want to include from this list. Remember there is always our Mary Garden here at the parish where you can spend some time in prayer too!
    Imitate Mary – If we truly love somebody, then we want to get to know them better, follow them more closely and finally to imitate their good qualities that we call virtues. St. Louis de Montfort in his classic True Devotion to Mary gives us a list of the ten principal virtues of Mary to imitate:
    • Her deep humility,
    • lively faith,
    • blind obedience,
    • unceasing prayer,
    • constant self-denial,
    • surpassing purity,
    • ardent love,
    • heroic patience,
    • angelic kindness,
    • and heavenly wisdom!
    St. Louis teaches us: “The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.”