Why is May the Month of Mary?
It’s here! May, the month in which the earth springs into bloom and we start thinking about planting gardens, family picnics, and making vacation plans. It’s also the Month of Mary. Why is May Mary’s month? Here’s a brief explanation. For centuries, the Catholic Church has set aside the entire month of Mary to honor Mary, Mother of God. Not just a day in May, mind you, but the entire month.
The custom spans both centuries and cultures. In medieval times, fertility customs abounded, all centering around the practice of expelling winter, as May 1 was considered the start of new growth. The idea of a month dedicated specifically to Mary can be traced back to baroque times, as Mary’s Month and May were combined, with special devotions organized on each day throughout the month. This custom became especially widespread during the nineteenth century and remains in practice until today. There are many ways we honor Mary this month. It’s common for parishes have a daily recitation of the Rosary during May, and many erect a special May altar with a statue or picture of Mary as a reminder of Mary’s month. Additionally, it’s a long-standing tradition to crown a statue of Mary during May, often using beautiful blossoms representing her beauty and virtue. It’s also a reminder to the faithful to strive to imitate our Blessed Mother’s virtue in our own lives. In our parish, there will be a crowning of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima outside hosted by the Lay Carmelites of St. Francis after the noon Mass on May 15.
For May, give Mary a special spot in your home. It can be a statue or picture, but place there some representation of our Blessed Mother. Make it appealing and a real tribute to her beauty and virtue. The meaning is far more important than the action. You can do it in the beginning, at the end of May or anywhere in between. Why do it? Not because it’s a long-standing tradition in the Church, although it is. Not because there are any special graces connected to it, although there are. No, do it because Mary is Mother – your mother, my mother, everyone’s mother – and because she cares for all of us day-in-and-day-out without fail, interceding for us in even the tiniest matters. For that, she deserves an entire month in her honor.
Written for the National Catholic Register by Marge Fenelon, award-winning
Catholic author and journalist, blogger, and speaker.