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May is Mary’s month!  And during May, throughout the Catholic world, special devotions honor the Virgin Mary.  “May Crowning” is a traditional Catholic ritual that occurs in the month of May and it recognizes Mary as Queen of heaven and earth.  Since medieval times, we have had the combination between Mary and the month of May. May is considered the season of the beginning of new life.  “May Crowning” marks a new spiritual season. Our Mary, Queen of heaven and earth, lifted us right out of the last long, cold days of winter and firmly planted our hearts in the warm and promising soil of spring.

During the Holy Mass on May Crowning day, a wreath of flowers and herbs is placed on the statue of Mary.  The act of crowning is rooted in the view of Mary as the Queen of Heaven. The event is of particular significance as it relates to the Champion Shrine history because, when Our Lady appeared to the young Belgian immigrant woman, Adele Brise, in 1859, she identified herself as the “Queen of Heaven.”

A cherished age-old tradition of reverence, the crowning of Mary at the Champion Shrine is in keeping with the “Order of Crowning” which attributed the queen symbol to Mary because she was a perfect follower of Christ, who is the absolute “crown” of creation.  “She is the Mother of the Son of God, who is the messianic King. Mary is the Mother of Christ, the Word Incarnate… ‘he will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; the Lord will give him the throne of his father David; and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:32-33).

Elizabeth greeted the Blessed Virgin, pregnant with Jesus, as ‘the mother of my Lord’ (Lk 1:41-43).  Mary is the perfect follower of Christ. The maid of Nazareth consented to God’s plan; she journeyed on the pilgrimage of faith; she listened to God’s Word and kept it in her heart; she remained steadfast in close union with her Son, all the way to the foot of the Cross; she persevered in prayer with the Church. Thus, in an eminent way she won the “crown of righteousness” (2 Tim 4:8), the “crown of life” (Jas 1:12; Rev 2:10), the “crown of glory” (1 Pet 5:4) that is promised to those who follow Christ (“Order of Crowning,” NCCB, 1987).

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