A Spring Clean with the May Queen
By Dan Valenti (Apr 30, 2011)
In May, spring blooms, yards are cleaned, and the calendar turns to Mary.
The Church has a long history of dedicating the month to Our Lady, but history isn't the important thing, according to Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, director of Evangelization and Development for the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.
"We must realize that Our Lady is present, today, here for us," Fr. Kaz says. "This is the same Mother of God who gave birth through the Holy Spirit to the Son of God, so that we may be redeemed. This is the same Immaculate Virgin who has asked us for prayers, penance, and reparation for sin. Through her, we find our way to Jesus. Through that 'gate,' we enter heaven."
Father Kaz reminds us that as "Mary's month," May provides an ideal time to "clean up" spiritually — to get closer to Our Lady, reconnect with her, or begin a relationship. He mentions that consecration to Mary involves surrender of our prayers so that she may use them as she pleases, in a way that does the most good. May, he says, resembles a "consecrated month." By that, Fr. Kaz means that it can be a time for "the fulfillment of our consecration" to and for the Blessed Mother.
There are many ways to celebrate May as Mary's month, Fr. Kaz says. In addition to dedicated prayer, celebrations include:
• Daily praying of the Rosary
• Crowing of a statue of Our Lady
• Venerating a statue or image of Mary (venerating means simply to perform a prayerful gesture or action of deep respect)
• Setting up a small shrine or "May altar" to Mary in one's home
• Encouraging family prayer to Our Lady
• Informally "checking in" with the Blessed Mother throughout the day.
Crowning a statue of Mary can be a fitting way to encourage children in their love for the Blessed Mother. There are many ways to have a crowning. For example, one can invite children to pick wild flowers — dandelions, lilacs, or even fresh evergreen tips. Most children can relate to bringing mom a bouquet. That's what this is like. The flowers are then placed in a "crown" base made of a retaining material such as chicken wire.
Fittingly, the Church celebrates two Marian feasts during May. On May 13, we honor Our Lady of Fatima on the occasion in 1917 when the Blessed Mother first appeared to the three shepherd children in that parish in Portugal.
On May 31, the Church celebrates the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin. When Mary heard that her elderly cousin, Elizabeth, was expecting a child, she hurried to her to help.