During the month of May, dedicated to Mary, our Mother, many Catholic parishes and schools have May Crownings in her honor.
This was something I looked forward to as a child every lovely Spring as flowers bloomed and robins sang. The sky took on that gorgeous shade of blue which is the color often associated with Our Lady.
In those days, at our Polish-American parish we had a Sodality of young women dedicated to praying the Rosary and fostering devotion to Mary. They dressed in pretty gowns of pastel shades and processed up the main aisle of my church. They carried bouquets which they palaced before a statue of Mary which was on the main altar. Knights of Columbus stood with their swords held aloft as the Sodalists walked under the glint of steel. Girls in white Communion dresses also followed in line. I was one of them and it always pleased me to take part in this liturgy.
The crowner was the president of the Sodality that year, who was dressed as a bride in a white gown and veil. A little girl, wearing a long gown, would be the crown bearer. As the choir sang a song to the Virgin, the crowner placed a gold crown on the statue of Mary. My parents were members of the choir and my brothers also attended.
Before the Crowning, I picked marigolds to place before Mary's statue. I had grown them with the help of my uncle. My grandmother said that she would buy a gown for me if I wanted to process with the girls who were with the Sodalists. They had flower girl frocks. But I told her no, that I was content with my white dress and flowers from my garden to present to Our Lady. I felt that Mother Mary liked me just as I was.
In our classrooms, girls drew pieces of paper from a hat to see who would crown the Virgin's statue.
And in the good old days of my parents' generation, there used to be a City-Wide Crowning at Waters Stadium in which all the Sodalists of the seven parishes participated. An elderly priest once recalled it with affection as he spoke at a parish Crowning.
In my family, I always crowned our statue of her with my parents and brothers praying along. I made a crown out of aluminum foil or blossoms.
We honored her as Mother and Queen, but as Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower of Jesus, said, "Mary is more Mother than Queen." She is concerned about her children on earth and wants to help them with their problems and concerns. Her Son, Jesus, is pleased to have us revere her. So, it is fitting to pay special tribute to her this month.