Wednesday, May 5, 2021

My Memories of May Processions and its Meaning Today by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

The month of May in Catholicism celebrates rituals, prayers and processions in which children crown Mary with a garland of flowers. 

I will never forget the yearly May processions at St. Thomas More School in Arlington , Virginia when I was in elementary school there in the 1950's.  The children from each grade lined up in single file in the parking lot. We were all, of course in our  uniforms. The girls wore beanies on their heads.  My beanie was never on straight and I resisted using bobby pins to secure it, so that sometimes got me in trouble with the nuns.  It was usually hot in May when we practiced, and sweat poured down my face.  (The best thing about the practices is that we got a break from school work.) 
I also remember we had to be silent as we stood in line. This was a bit of an ordeal for me! When the nun in charge hit her clicker, it was the signal to process or genuflect if we were in Church.  The highlight of the May procession ritual was the crowning of Mary, usually, it seemed to me, by a pretty, smart eight grade girl.  
I still remember some of the words to "O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today, queen of the angels, queen of the May." (Enjoy the modern day youtube videos above.)

At this time in my life, I  have a deep appreciation of the power of ritual to inspire and to nourish our spiritual journey. Mary, mother of Jesus, is a sister, friend, and companion, who accompanies us through the challenges of daily life. I believe that Mary is a radiant image of the sacred feminine, who is rising up today in women and men to liberate and heal our world through compassionate service and prophetic witness for justice, equality and inclusiveness. 

I  deeply believe that the Divine Mother prays within us, and helps us to grow more deeply aware of our spiritual power to do more than we ever imagined to be the face of God in our world. 

So, I say "yes" to Catholic rituals that draw us more deeply into divine mystery to encounter the God beyond all names and images, and who also has a feminine face. Through the centuries, Mary has been a reflection of the Divine Feminine in a patriarchal religion.  Let us continue to celebrate her presence in  a beautiful diversity of  rituals and prayers, not only in May, but everyday. She is right beside us, loving and helping us now and always. 

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

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