If this were a normal May, honoring the Blessed Mother would almost be too easy. We would be overwhelmed with choices for liturgies, events, devotions, pilgrimages and opportunities for private and public prayer.
We would visit Holy Hill, the Schoenstatt Retreat Center, the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, or any number of the Marian sites that we are so blessed to have here in Wisconsin.
But this is no normal May. This year, we are being asked to stay in our homes, and to avoid large gatherings and public worship. This year, we have to adapt — because relying on the intercession of Christ’s Blessed Mother is more crucial than ever. “Mary’s power over the evil spirits will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lie in wait for her heel, that is, for her humble servants and her poor children whom she will rouse to fight against him,” wrote St. Louis de Montfort.
In fact, it was just recently announced by Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, that the United States is being reconsecrated to Our Lady under the title of Mary, Mother of the Church, on May 1.
Here are some ways you can make May a month to honor Mary — all while staying “safer at home.”
Consider a Marian consecration
Traditionally, preparation for consecration to Jesus through the Blessed Mother is a process of spiritual study, reflection and growth that takes about 33 days, and is completed on a Marian feast day — of which there are several in the summer, making May the perfect time to begin thinking about it. Fr. Hugh Gillespie’s “Preparation for Total Consecration According to St. Louis de Montfort” is available on Amazon and lays out a wonderful program that follows the de Montfort mode of consecration. Fr. Michael Gaitley’s “33 Days to Morning Glory” is also a popular book that incorporates the spirituality of not only de Montfort but St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St. Pope John Paul II.
Make your own Marian shrine
This is a particularly fun activity to do outside, if you have an outdoor statue of the Blessed Mother (if not, they are sold by many online stores, including Amazon and CatholicCompany.com) but it can easily be done inside as well. The flowers may not exactly be blooming yet, but you can explore the yard with the kids and see what kind of rustic natural bouquets you can create to decorate the shrine. Find some rocks to paint with Marian symbols or make paper garland to hang and write prayer intentions on it. Don’t get intimidated by the word “shrine” or hung up on the idea of a “grotto.” The idea is simply to create a spot where the kids will feel comfortable taking a break from their play to “visit Mary” for a few quiet moments.
Have a May crowning
If you have a statue of the Blessed Mother, create a makeshift crown using whatever materials you might have on hand. And though we aren’t able to take to the streets en masse these days, why not plan your own mini Marian procession around the house or the yard? Building a simple float, sing songs like “Salve Regina” and finish up with a tasty treat.
Archbishop Gomez will be leading the prayer of consecration of the nation to Our Lady at 1 p.m. (Central time) on May 1. Consider planning to join him and the rest of our American bishops in prayer at this moment.
Say a Marian novena for one of the transitional deacons who will be ordained to the priesthood.
Our archdiocese is blessed to have four transitional deacons who are preparing to be ordained to the priesthood on May 16 (to learn more about them, visit ThinkPriest.org or read the May 7 Catholic Herald). Begin a novena to Mary, Queen of the Clergy on May 7. The Blessed Mother is, in a profound and special way, a protector and guardian of all those who share in the priesthood of her Son. Choose one of the transitional deacons and pray for him by name — or pray for them all, that the graces of the sacrament of Holy Orders will be made manifest in their lives as priests.