The Church dedicates the month of May to honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is not only the Daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit but also our mother. Mary loves each one of us, intercedes for us in even the tiniest matters, and “plays an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation.”1
During May, it’s very common for parishes to hold special activities and celebrations to honor this most important woman in our Catholic faith. Such traditions include a daily communal rosary, erecting a special altar with a picture or statue of Mary, and a May Crowning.
But praying the rosary, building altars, and crowing Mary aren’t just “church” things. You can practice these customs—and more—at home (in the domestic church) with your own family to honor your Heavenly Mother. Here are six ways that you can draw closer to Mary during May—or anytime you want to deepen your relationship with her.
1. Contemplate Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth
Mary has many titles, but one that we especially honor this month is Queen of Heaven and Earth. Understanding Mary as Queen sheds light on her important intercessory role in our lives; she serves as an advocate for all of us. Thus, we should approach her with confidence knowing that she carries our petitions to her royal Son. She holds us so close to her heart. Spend some time pondering Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth, and ask for her intercession with this Prayer to Mary, Queen of Heaven:
Queen of Heaven, rejoice. Alleluia. The Son whom you were privileged to bear, Alleluia, has risen as he said, Alleluia. Pray to God for us, Alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, Virgin Mary, Alleluia. For the Lord has truly risen, Alleluia.
O God, it was by the Resurrection of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that you brought joy to the world. Grant that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, his Mother, we may attain the joy of eternal life. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
2. Pray the rosary
While October is the month of the rosary, praying this beautiful prayer during May is also a tradition. Whether you pray the rosary every day or every week, with family and friends or alone, this powerful prayer will help you see Jesus’ life through the eyes of his mother.
There are many different meditations you can use to pray the rosary. One of our favorites is Holy Family School of Faith’s daily rosary meditations. There are also additional prayers you can include at the end of the rosary, such as these two prayers that Pope Francis has encouraged all of us to pray this month as we honor Mary.
3. Pray the Angelus at noon
The Angelus (prayed at 6:00 AM, 12:00 PM, and 6:00 PM) gives us an opportunity to take a few moments each day to meditate on Mary’s humble obedience to God at the Annunciation. During May, pause each day at noon to pray this beautiful, short prayer. Reflect on the ways you responded to God’s will throughout the morning, and ask Mary for the grace and courage you need to take on the rest of the day.
The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, prayer for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
Hail Mary . . .
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary . . .
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, They Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
4. Attend a May Crowning (or watch one live)
In May, many Catholic parishes around the world have a special celebration during which they crown a statue of Mary with a beautiful floral crown that represents her beauty, virtue, and queenship. These ceremonies can take place during Mass or on their own and usually consist of hymns, prayers, and perhaps even an act of consecration to Our Lady.
If you are unable to attend a May Crowning at your local parish at this time, you can check your parish bulletin or website or diocesan website for live streaming options.
5. Build a prayer corner or altar in your home and give Mary a special place
Just like you have a designated place in your house to sleep, eat, and work, it’s a good idea to have a designated place at home to pray. Create a space in your home specifically reserved for spending time with God. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It might be as simple as a corner in your bedroom with a rocking chair, a small side table, a candle, and a crucifix. For May, add a statue or picture of Mary to your prayer place and crown her with a spiritual crown or actual crown of flowers. Spend some time in your prayer corner in conversation with Mary.
6. Pray a novena to Our Lady of Fatima
On May 13, 1917, in Fatima, Portugal, Mary appeared to three shepherd children, asking them to pray the rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and an end to World War I. Today, we celebrate the feast of our Our Lady of Fatima (another title given to Mary) on May 13, to remind all of us of the importance of praying the rosary, praying for souls, and the need for conversion of heart.
Pray a novena (a nine-day prayer) to Our Lady of Fatima, such as this one.2 While you can pray the novena at any time, it traditionally begins May 4 and ends May 12.
O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, you deigned to come to Fatima to reveal to the three shepherd children the treasures of graces hidden in the recitation of the Rosary. Inspire our hearts with a sincere love of this devotion, so that by meditating on the mysteries of our redemption that are recalled in it, we may gather its fruits, obtain peace for the world, the conversion of sinners, and the favor which I ask of you in this novena (state your request here). I ask it for the greater glory of God, for your own honor, and for the good of all souls, especially those most in need of thy mercy. Amen.
Our Father (x3)
Hail Mary (x3)
Glory Be (x3)
Litany to Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for our dear country.
Our Lady of Fatima, sanctify our clergy.
Our Lady of Fatima, make our Catholics more fervent.
Our Lady of Fatima, guide and inspire those who govern us.
Our Lady of Fatima, cure the sick who confide in thee.
Our Lady of Fatima, console the sorrowful who trust in thee.
Our Lady of Fatima, help those who invoke your aid.
Our Lady of Fatima, deliver us from all dangers.
Our Lady of Fatima, help us to resist temptation.
Our Lady of Fatima, obtain for us all that we lovingly ask thee.
Our Lady of Fatima, help those who are dear to us.
Our Lady of Fatima, bring back to the right road our erring brothers.
Our Lady of Fatima, give us back our ancient fervor.
Our Lady of Fatima, obtain for us pardon of our manifold sins and offenses.
Our Lady of Fatima, bring all men to the feet of thy Divine Child.
Our Lady of Fatima, obtain peace for the world.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Let us pray: O God of infinite goodness and mercy, fill our hearts with a great confidence in Thy Dear Mother, whom we invoke under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary and our Lady of Fatima, and grant us by her powerful intercession all the graces, spiritual and temporal, which we need. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Whether you incorporate all six of these suggestions, just one, or another Marian devotion, do something intentional this month to honor and deepen your relationship with your Blessed Mother, Queen of Heaven and Earth.
- Pope Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginam
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