Article for May 10, 2020

FROM FR. JOE

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO MARY AND ALL MOTHERS! 

May is traditionally a month in which Catholics honor the Mother of God, Mary.  For those of you who were able to catch the online recording of last Sunday’s Mass, you may remember that we did a May crowning of one of the Mary statues that is in St. Cecilia’s.  The bishops of our country and the bishops of Canada also chose May 1 to renew our nations’ consecration to the Blessed Mother.  These are just two examples of how Catholics take time to give praise and glory to God by honoring Mary.  Many parishes and religious organizations have additional traditions and devotions that they do this time of year.

So how did May become connected with Mary anyway?  Why is this month so significant?  I found an article on the website for the National Catholic Register.  It was written by Marge Fenelon and posted on May 1, 2020.  She explained that the roots of this tradition of setting aside May for Mary goes all the way back to the Greeks and then the Roman Empire.  Both cultures dedicated the month of May to goddesses who brought about fertility, new growth, and new life.  Other cultures celebrated the coming of spring during May.  By medieval times, Catholics had started the tradition of a “Thirty-Day Devotion to Mary”.  It was at first celebrated from August 15 (Solemnity of the Assumption) until September 14 (Feast of the Holy Cross).  Each of those thirty days had devotions and spiritual exercises that honored Mary.  Later on, the month in which Mary was dedicated moved around the calendar.  By the nineteenth century, the custom of using May as Mary’s month was well established in the Church, and continues to today.

I cannot help but think how appropriate it is that we Catholics honor Mary in the same month that many people around the world celebrate Mother’s Day.  Mary can be considered our mother for two reasons.  One, is because she is the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.  Since He is a part of the Most Holy Trinity, we know that He was present at Creation; not just the creation of the Earth we live on, but also the creation of all human life.  So we can call her the mother of us all.  The second reason can be found at the Crucifixion.  John 19:26-27 tells us how when Jesus saw Mary and the Apostle John next to each other, He told Mary, “Woman, behold, your son!” and He told John, “Behold your mother”.  Jesus was not just talking about Mary and John, but Mary and all His disciples, including us.  Jesus gave us His mother as our mother.  So this Mother’s Day, as we honor our earthly mothers, do not forget to honor our spiritual mother as well.  Say a prayer or even a whole rosary.  Make an altar in your home dedicated to Mary.  Do your own May crowning.  Remember we honor Mary, but we also worship God who gave us His mother and all our mothers!  Happy Mother’s Day!

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