The Romans used to dedicate a month to a deity. The month of May was thus the month of Maya, goddess of fertility. When Christianity became the official religion, the month of Maya became the month of the Madonna and therefore the month of Mary. The Dominicans developed the devotion to the month of Mary. But it is in the XVIII century, with Saint Philippe Néri that the month of Mary becomes a popular devotion. Pius VII, in 1815, consecrates the devotion to the month of Mary which extends to the whole world.
Mary welcomed the message of the Archangel Gabriel in faith and hope. She participated with the Jewish people in waiting for the Messiah.
For centuries, the prophets had been announcing the coming of the Savior. Mary opens her heart to the Lord, saying that everything happens according to your Word. She surrenders herself to the will of God so that the plan of salvation may be realized. She accepts to be the mother of the beloved Son of the Father.
The month of May makes me recall a beautiful memory I have from my childhood — a hymn: Tis the month of Mary, the loveliest month; to the Dearest of Virgins let us sing a new song. In many homes, a statue, a picture, a rosary evokes her presence. Let us call upon her motherly protection, given the human drama we are presently experiencing.
Mary in the midst of our sorrow. Mary in the midst of our current preoccupations. A discreet presence, yet how reassuring and beneficial. Just as on the road leading to Calvary, the presence and the gaze of Mary gives us the stamina not to flail about despairingly in the face of the terrors of COVID 19. Mary’s gaze illumines and transforms every Way of the Cross into a Way of Hope, Resurrection, and Life.
“’Tis the month of our Mo-ther; the bless-ed and beau-ti-ful days.” When I was a child I often sang this well-known hymn with my family and neighbors on Collines Lane in the little village of Brébeuf where I was born.
Every evening during the month of May, we gathered around the Cross by the roadside with the neighbors to pray to Mary.
We recited the rosary, sang hymns, made prayer intentions, and had a good time together.
It was on May 13 1917, while they were tending a flock of sheep and goats, that three children aged ten, nine, and seven, saw a lady above an oak tree. The lady, they said, was clothed in light brighter than the sun, yet whose rays did not dazzle, but were rather soothing to the eyes and imparted a sort of serenity. It was difficult to describe because they had never experienced anything like it before. These three little sheepherders were named Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta.
On this first of May, the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, patron saint of workers, the Church invites us, in a very special way, to pray to the Virgin Mary. We are told that on this day, “the Catholic Bishops of Canada will consecrate their dioceses or eparchies to Mary, Mother of the Church, asking for her protection during the coronavirus pandemic.