May Crowning?


New Catholic here. As a new Catholic (from 20+ years as a protestant) Confirmed Nov 4, 07. The rest of my immediate family is in different stages of RCIA. I enrolled my youngest son in the regular Middle School Youth Group at Church.He will be going to the first communion classes next year for older kids.

Anyway Last night for youth group he needed a flower for this thing called a May Crowning. I found out it was some ceremony of crowning a statue of Mary and putting flowers around her or some such. Hard to get much information from an 11 year old. 

Now I have overcome all major doctrinal issues I had with Mary as a protestant and as a Catholc understand them and believe them from a Catholic view now. I would say those issues with Mary are probably the hardest for most protestants coming into the Church to understand, but I realized I still had resistance and hesitation last night about this ceremony after he told me about it. Can someone explain it and apolegetically defend this practice to me. It would help me understand it better.

  My son thought nothing of it. He has no culture shock because he was too little to really remember the fundamentalist Baptist Church we use to belong to when he was born and attended through preschool. Then we were looking around for a church for about 5 years -- you could say church hopping before being led to the Catholic Church two and a half years ago.

PS: (Once when I was in RCIA I learned of another practice that I was shocked at- This burying of the St. Joseph statue to sell a house- I was relieved to find out that wasn’t sanctioned by the church and was a repudiated superstition)


Hi, deanarrca. I don’t have an answer for you, but if you can you might see if you can change the title of your thread. You have a typo, and when I saw the thread, I thought you were talking about May Day because it is May 1st!! :slight_smile:

EDIT: Whoops, maybe I am wrong. I looked for information on this and found that Mary is crowned in the month of May- so perhaps you did mean to say May crowning. I am a convert, too.


Welcome! :wave:

May Crowning’s are a pious tradition* that many parishes do, but I haven’t come across any statement by the Church that comments on it one way or the other. (*By pious tradition, I mean that it is an act that probably originates with the people, is devotional [not doctrinal] in nature, and isn’t officially affirmed or condemned by the Church)

This stems from the pious tradition that considers May to be the “month of Mary.” Actually, the Church doesn’t fully support this notion. I recommend reading paragraphs 190-207 of the Vatican document Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy. The document is hesitant to fully endorse May as the “month of Mary” because it is not directly tied to the Church’s liturgical year. Nonetheless, the Church recognizes that many people are attached to this practice and thus recommend some ways to tie it to the liturgical year (such as by focusing on Mary’s participation in Pentecost as Pentecost usually falls in May).

As for a May crowning, there is really no inherent problem with it. The 5th Glorious Mystery of the Rosary is the “Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth”. The May crowning is likely a ceremonial representation of that. It’s just another devotion, like praying the rosary or wearing a scapular.

As far as apologetics goes, I would say the strategy would be the same for a “May Crowning” as it would for “praying to the saints” in general. For that, Catholic Answers has several great tracts.

Hope this helps!


Joe gave a wonderful answer to which I will only add that the May crowning, when I was in school, was simply a nice way to honor the Blessed Mother. Plus it was a nice school wide project where we marched and sang beautiful Marian hymns and got out of the classroom for something different one day.:wink:

Crowning the statue of Mary certainly wouldn’t be any different than lighting a candle at her feet in my opinion.

The thing to always remember is that these things are done to honor Our Lady and not the statue. Also keep in mind that it is an honor and not an adoration.

One of the things I miss about the modern church is that we have lost some of the richness of ceremony that we had years ago. Be thankful that your parish still has it.

Hope this helps.



I also think of it as akin to a very small child taking a photograph of his mother, pasting it on some construction paper and then finally drawing or pasting decorations or other expression of love around around the picture. He then, as an act of childlike love, presents it to his mother. What mother’s heart would not be moved by such a simple act of affection? Our Mother Mary would feel the same.:heart:


I like that analogy!!


It was a big deal in our school before Vatican II. My mother would plant sweet peas along the fence line in time that they would be blooming in May. You wove a crown of flowers. It was not worship or even veneration - it was children presenting flowers to their mother much as if your child went to the trouble to bring you a maycrown.

I’m sure most of the folks my age will remember this hymn because this is the one I think most of us will know:


I’m a convert, too, and I’ve never attended a May Crowning.

Are there any links to an outline of what occurs? I wouldn’t mind setting something up for my youth group. I have a statue of Mary in my office that I could bring to the meeting, and if I had an outline of how a May Crowning goes, we could even do one tonight, with the kids. :slight_smile:


See here:


Thanks, that looks very useful! :slight_smile:


When I was a young boy growing up in the 60s and in Catholic School, the May crowning was a big deal. The girls in the school took care of this. They made the flower crown, and spent a couple of days decorating and cleaning the grotto, while we played ball at recess. They also led the procession for the crowning. The girl that had the honor of actually placing the crown on the Blessed Mother in front of the whole school was treated like the homecoming queen.

At that time boys dominated the scene. The altar servers and choir were all male, and the girls enjoyed the special status of taking care of the May procession and crowning.

It is our way of acknowledging the Blessed Mother as the Mother of heaven and earth, and the Lady whole carried our Lord in her womb. If that is not a special calling, I don’t know what else could be.


yes, this was a BIG deal, i remember my sister being “May Queen” one year, you’d think she won a beauty contest lol


well I went to St. Mary school for 12 years and it was of course a big deal for us, the statue was lifesize, outside in a grotto (I think probably destroyed when old schools were razed and half the property went to a senior citizen development).

the actual doctrine behind the popular devotion is the belief that Mary was assumed into heaven through the power of her son, a natural outgrowth of belief in the Immaculate Conception which implies her earthly body should not decay, but that at the end of her earthly life she immediately enjoy that which we one day hope for, resurrection of the body and union with God in heaven. Just as she experienced the fruits of the Passion and salvific act of her son previously in her Immaculate Conception, so is her honor in her assumption previous to His second coming, as is her honor of being crowned by Him as Queen of Heaven, an ancient title she has always enjoyed, almost as ancient as belief in the assumption.


We also set up May alters in our homes with a Statue of the Blessed Mother, a linen cloth under her, a couple of candles, flowers from the garden and pray the Rosary as a family for the entire month of May.
Once, when I was about 4, I was at my Aunt and Uncles house. My Uncle was out in his rose garden and he got three roses and brought them in, he gave one to his wife, one to me and placed one at the foot of their Statue of the Blessed Mother. I’ve never forgotten the look of love in his eyes as he did all of this. He was totally devoted to her and it showed.
I love the song, "Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above"
I will be attending a May Crowing next week, as our Diocese is still totally devoted to her, thank God.


It was announced this morning that we will be having a May Crowning procession this Sunday morning between Masses at my TLM oratory…with the Rosary said. The children receive their First Communion that day. I imagine it will be beautiful and I hope the weather holds out.:wink:


I love the May crowning. It is my favorite Marian devotion that is done as a parish. It is very moving to see the children crowning the statue of Our Blessed Mother. I love the hymns they sing during it (especially Bring Flowers of the Rarest) too.


The memory of the Mother’s Day crownings of the statue of the Blessed Mother remain some of my most precious memories of a Catholic girlhood in the 1950’s and 60’s. I still have the pictures. I am so glad to see that people are once again honoring our Blessed Mother with this beautiful practice. It is also approved by the Church. Instructions on how to do it can be found in “Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year” by Msgr. (now bishop) Peter J. Elliott published by Ignatius Press. Bishop Elliott says “The custom of solemnly crowning an image of Our Lady affirms her motherly role as our Queen. Assumed body and soul into heavenly glory, Mary is the great sign and fulfillment of the eternal glory Christ promises to his beloved spouse, the Church.” I hope that this helps those unfamiliar with this custom to understand it better.


**I will be giving my mother flowers for Mothers Day to show her I love her and honor her for being my mother.
We are commanded to honor our mother and father, why not Mary?

Didn’t Jesus say**

John 19:27

Then He said to the disciple, **“Behold, your mother!” **From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

**are we not disciples? Shouldn’t we follow His example?
She is our mother,and just like any mother who is not with us we keep reminders (statues,pictures ect.) of her to remind us how we should follow her example and say yes to God.

Flowers for our mother.


I am a former evangelical Protestant (Conference Baptist, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Evangelical Free Church in America, etc.).

Most evangelicals have no objection to decorating the graves of their loved ones with flowers. We do this to honor their memory and to demonstrate our hope that someday, we shall see them again in heaven.

Many evangelicals have pictures or even busts up in their church of former beloved pastors and laypeople from their churches. These are not meant to be objects of worship, but are tributes to the work that the person accomplished while on this earth, and they are reminders that the person is not “dead,” but is waiting for us in heaven.

Most evangelicals have some kind of memorial fund in their church. A garden bench, a chapel pew, a window, a set of kitchen dishes, a collection of pew Bibles–given in honor of the loved one, and usually a small plaque is visible to let people know that this bench or pew or window or dish was donated in honor of so and so. These objects are not meant to deify the loved one, but to honor their memory and remind us to leave our mark for the Lord on this world.

To me, the crowning of a statue of Mary is a very old tradition that honors the memory of Mary and reminds us that she is waiting for us in heaven.

Frankly, I think a lot of the lack of respect for women, especially stay-at-home moms, in the U.S. is because we do not practice devotion to Mary and honor her memory and her heavenly state. Protestants dismiss her as a “Jewish girl” that God used to bring His Son into the world. She is reduced to a surrogate, a “womb.” Her “yes” is just lucky for her, because if she had said "No,’ well, God would have found another Jewish girl. It would have all worked out just dandy.

And then we wonder why our divorce rate is so high and why women allow themselves to be used as sex toys by men that they don’t even love, and why children are seen as “miniature adults” who really don’t need anything special. It’s because we have ignored the Mother of God.

We need greater visible devotion to Mary. A man who honors Mary is more likely, IMO, to honor his mother, his wife, and his daughters, as well as other women that he interacts with, and he is more likely to attempt to stay chaste.

A society that honors Mary is more likely to treat women and children with respect.

Ex-Protestant speaking here! I can this issue from the other side, from the point of view of people who DIDN’T honor Mary as anyone other than “another woman of the Bible.” It’s wrong because the Bible says it’s wrong. Mary said that henceforth, all generations would call her blessed. How many Protestants walk around saying, “Blessed are you among women.” Ha ha. Well, I guess “literal interpretation of the Bible” only applies to certain verses, not ALL the verses!


All your posts have been wonderful. I have no more hesitation. Thanks so much. I loved all the wonderful insights, an analogies offered too. Thanks Sincerely Deana :slight_smile:

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