Mary, the Mother of God is known by many titles : Queen of Peace, Star of the Sea, Help of Christians, Mirror of Justice and Mediatrix of Graces to name but a few. In May we honour her also as our heavenly Mother. How do we honour her? In particular we pray for her intercession. What better way to Christ than through his mother? We pray the Rosary in particular. We might also make a pilgrimage to a shrine associated with her e.g Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, Knock,Czestochowa or, here in the UK, Walsingham, Ladyewell and more locally for our Guild, Jesu Mount or Jesmond. Most churches have a side altar dedicated as a Lady altar which you could also visit as a family.
Flowers that grow in our gardens and hedgerows can be wonderful reminders of the Virgin Mary and many legends have grown up around them. Look at http://www.americancatholic.org/messenger/may2000/feature2.asp for more detailed information
It is traditional to honour Mary with flowers by crowning statues of her and we are reminded of that lovely Marian hymn,
"Bring flowers of the rarest,
Bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale
Our full hearts are swelling, our glad voices telling
the praise of the loveliest flower of the vale
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of the angels and Queen of the May"
A few priests have retained the tradition of May Processions although not on the same scale as when I was a child some 40+ years ago. This year members of the Holy Family Guild joined in the May Procession at St Mary's Church, Barnard Castle where Father Wilfrid Elkin led families in the Rosary, a Litany, a procession with hymns and a crowning, before giving Benediction. Families were able to socialise thanks to father's kind invitation into his home. Sometimes it is even sunny in May and drinks can be served on the lawn!
All Catholic families should consecrate themselves to Our Lady's care and at all family gatherings of the guild we say a prayer of Consecration written by the Community of St John and I commend it here for my readers,
As the Father has chosen you, Mary,
to be His Immaculate child, the wife of Joseph
and the Mother of His beloved Son and of the whole Church
in full communion with the Holy Spirit
we choose you today
as Mother and Queen of our whole family,
and we consecrate to you our souls and our bodies,
all our activities and everything that belongs to us without reserve.
Show each of us your most maternal kindness,
Teach us to love Jesus and the Father, more and more,
and through them, to love one another in the Holy Spirit,
deepening our knowledge of each other in the light of Jesus,
respecting each other, and each day, choosing one another
in a simpler and more divine love.
Mary, grant each of us the grace to accomplish each day
the will of the Father in the gift of ourselves,
so that our whole family
may bear witness in the midst of the world
to the love of Jesus
victorious over evil. Amen