May 10, 2015
Dear Brother and Sisters in Christ,
The beautiful month of May is a time in which the Catholic Church turns, in a greater way, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to Pope Paul VI, the month of May provides the opportunity for a “moving tribute of faith and love which Catholics in every part of the world [pray] to the Queen of Heaven. During this month, Christians, both in church and in the privacy of the home, offer up to Mary from their hearts an especially fervent and loving homage of prayer and veneration. In this month, too, the benefits of God's mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance.”
These May devotions began in the Church around the 13th century. By the 16th century, they had spread all over Europe due, in large part, to the Jesuits. Out of this humble and ever growing origin was the practice of establishing a May Altar in the church and in the home. At the 10:00AM Mass this weekend, we will participate in the May Crowning devotions in which the statue of the Blessed Virgin is crowned with flowers. The Christian Mothers of our parish will be present for this beautiful and ancient devotion and a first communicant will carry in the crown.
An excellent and noble practice to continue in your homes is to construct a Marian altar during this month. This would a wonderful way to express your Catholic faith and remind you on a daily basis of God’s love and the love Mary has for her spiritual children on earth.
Here’s how to make a Marian May Altar:
1. Find a suitable place in the home which would be considered a gathering space. To make it simple, you might position the May Altar where you would normally place your Christmas tree.
2. Cover the small table with a cloth or doily and set upon it a statue or picture of the Blessed Virgin.
3. Other objects that can be added to the May Altar such as a vase of flowers, a bible, prayer cards, holy water, etc.
In general, a Marian altar is an expression of your devotion to the Blessed Mother; it can be as unique as you are. The important thing is this: after constructing a May Altar in your home, find time each day to pray. Bring the family together to pray the rosary or the Litany of Loreto. The May Altar isn’t simply a “decoration” but a desire for a sacred space in which prayer is increased, virtue strengthened, and faith inflamed. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!