The month of May has traditionally been a month dedicated to the Blessed Mother in the Catholic Church. As April showers give way to May flowers, altars and grottoes come alive when the faithful decorate and pray with a zeal comparable to that of the original disciples of our Lord two thousand years ago. Catholic school children everywhere process to said altars and grottoes carrying a crown woven with these flowers and place it on the head of a statue of the Blessed Mother while singing Marian hymns, such as On This Day Oh Beautiful Mother, Immaculate Mary, and Ave Maria. The event is referred to as the “May Crowning.”
I have vivid memories of these days. One especially comes to mind. My father died suddenly in a farming accident on May 5, 1958 (tomorrow being the 59th anniversary). I was ten years old. As you might expect, I missed school for a few days, perhaps as much as a couple of weeks, to come to grips with what happened. I returned on the very day of the May Crowning. Though I had not completely healed (I felt that all the eyes of my classmates were upon me), I was comforted by this moving ceremony. As the hymn says, “Oh beautiful mother, on this day we give thee our love.”
This year, the month of May is even more special. May 13, 2017, a week from Saturday, is the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of the Blessed Mother to the children of Fatima in 1917. The story of Our Lady of Fatima has been accepted by the Catholic Church as an authentic story of a miraculous appearance. Though many so-called appearances of the Blessed Mother are deemed as fraudulent or mistaken (one has the image of the Blessed Mother “appearing” on a sandwich), only a very few that have successfully undergone the extreme scrutiny of the Church are deemed authentic. Fatima is one of them.
So I wish the Catholic Church, all Catholics, and all human beings everywhere a rousing “Happy Anniversary” on this very special occasion. Amen! Alleluia!