THROUGHOUT THE MONTH OF MAY we shall be sharing Marian readings focused on Mary, Mother Of God.
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WHY IS MAY THE MONTH OF MARY?
There are many different factors that contributed to May the month of Mary. First of all, in Ancient Greece and Rome, the month of may was dedicated to pagan goddesses connected to fertility and springtime (Artemis and Flora respectively)
For centuries, the Catholic Church has set aside the entire month of May to honour Mary, Mother of God. Not just a day in May, mind you, but the entire month. Not because she is a goddess but because she is the Mother of God, and our Mother.
It was during the middle Ages (11 Century), that the idea of giving the month of may to Mary began with an old tradition or spiritual exercise known as “Tricesimum”, or “Thirty-Day Devotion to Mary”. Also called, “Mary’s Month,” the event was held from August 15 to September 14 and was later changed to may by Pope Pius VII.
Also, in Rome towards the end of the eighteenth century, one fine evening in May. A child from a poor family gathered his companions around him and led them to a statue of Mary, before which a lamp was burning, as is the custom in that city. These fresh young voices sang the Litany of our Lady. The next day, this little children were followed by other children, again gathered at the feet of the Mother of God. Next came their mothers, to join the little assembly. Soon, other groups were formed, and the devotion rapidly became popular. Day after day the number increases and becomes greater as they return home. Many saw in these growing practices the hand of God and Our Lady, and they cooperated with the designs of Providence by approving and promoting this new devotion, as a public and solemn act of reparation. The Month of Mary was founded.
“This is the month in which, in the churches and individual homes, the most affectionate and fervent homage of prayers and devotions from the hearts of Christians are raised to Mary the Mother of God. It is also the month in which from Her throne descend upon us the most generous and abundant graces from God.”
In our own times, we Catholics, especially Marian devotee wanting to be close to Mary always, and to offer her special presents in May: in most Catholic churches ( even in many Catholic homes) a ” May Altar” is erected with a statue or picture of Jesus and Mary, flowers and candles. The Altar stands from May 1 to 31 as a reminder of Mary’s importance in the life of the Church and in our own lives as well.
After the second Vatican council in the year 1965, Pope Paul VI wrote about the importance of Mary’s intercession for all the world, explaining that those who encounter the Mother of God encounter Her Son, Jesus Christ. And Pope Francis in his letter for the month of May 2020 said “Contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial.” Let us remember to pray the two beautiful prayer to Our Lady given by Pope Francis at the end of our daily Rosary.
We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from every danger, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen.