Phone: 203 742-1450
Fairfield County Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Bridgeport

May 3, 2024

“O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.”

Almost 60 years ago, in an era much like our own, when the world was tottering on the brink of war, and countries were amassing nuclear arms and Communism was spreading, Pope Paul VI turned to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Blessed Mary Queen of MayHe wrote an encyclical titled “Mense Maio” (Month of May) in which he urged Catholics to pray for the intercession and protection of the Queen of Peace.

For centuries, May has been dedicated to Mary, and the pope observed, “In this month, the gifts of God’s mercy come down to us from her throne in greater abundance.”

With words that apply today, he said: “When we look at the present needs of the Church or at the state of peace in the world, we have compelling reasons for believing that the present hour is especially grave; that it makes a call for united prayer from the whole Christian people more than ever a matter of urgency.”

He ended his encyclical by urging public prayer during May, especially the rosary, which he said was “the prayer so dear to Our Lady.”

Ever since the 13th century, Christians have prayed to Mary in May. The month is associated with communal and family devotions, pilgrimages, rituals, crownings and the creation of “May altars,” which are Marian places of prayer in churches and homes.

Many modern practices were begun in the 18th century by Jesuit Father Latomia for his students at the Roman College, and they eventually spread to churches throughout Europe.

Parishes have May crownings, and one popular hymn, “Queen of May,” proclaims, “O Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.”

May also has a number of feast days devoted to Our Lady, including Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, Mary, Help of Christians on May 24 and the Visitation on May 31.

Pope Paul VI understood the importance of appealing to the Mother of God. In this encyclical, he wrote: “May she, who knows the suffering and troubles of life here below, the weariness of everyday work, the hardships and privations of poverty, the sufferings of Calvary, bring help to the needs of the Church and the world, heed the appeals for peace, rising to her from every part of the world and enlighten those who rule the destinies of men.”

Hear Canto Catolico sing Salve Regina (https://youtu.be/f0YWKLNhTvE?si=u4LUctPw9tips3YM).

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