Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day and May Crownings

I realize that Mother’s Day has come and gone, but I thought I would post a quick thought about this holiday…

Mother’s Day is not a Christian holiday, which is to say, it is not a part of the Liturgical Calendar. At our parish we did hear a brief mention of Mother’s Day and the mothers in the congregation stood to receive a blessing, but otherwise the Mass was centered on the commemoration of the Third Sunday of Easter. The prayers and readings reflected this liturgical theme. This is as exactly as it should be. Our liturgical celebrations come from 2000 years of lived Christian Tradition, not from ideas borrowed from secular sources like Hallmark greeting cards.

That’s not to say that Mother’s Day should not be celebrated by Christians outside of the liturgy. As a family, we had a wonderful day enjoying the nice weather and making sure that ‘Mom’ received special treatment out of appreciation for all of her hard work.

But our family also marked the occasion in a particularly “Catholic” way by having our own May Crowning. May is traditionally a month dedicated to Mary. Usually on May 1 a statue of Mary is ceremoniously adorned with a crown or wreath of flowers signifying her status as Queen of Heaven. In the United States the May Crowning is often held on Mother’s Day to remind us of Mary’s special role as mother. As the mother of Jesus she is the spiritual mother of all Christians and thus Mother of the Church.

This is the first year that we held this event in our family, so it was very modest to say the least. Our son suggested that we say three Hail Mary’s (just like we do when beginning a rosary) and then place the crown on Mary’s head. And that was pretty much the entire ceremony. The “crown” was a simple wreath of silk flowers we wove together the day before. Perhaps next year we will research other activities we can do, more elaborate prayers, maybe some other customs we can incorporate into the day. Nonetheless, it was a great beginning to a family tradition.

Hopefully our May Crowning will prove to be a great example for our children, teaching them the importance of faith in everything they do. As we see other Christian denominations attempting to fit Mother’s Day (and for that matter, other secular holidays) artificially into their worship, we do well to realize an important truth. Rather than drag Mother’s Day into the Church and attempt to shape the faith around this secular observance, we should instead bring the faith into our secular culture and shape the world to the Truth taught in Christ. Certainly mothers should be celebrated. And the secular world should be applauded for doing so. But rather than push this secular observance into the Church, why not draw on our rich Christian heritage and Christianize what might otherwise be a secular holiday.

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