Friday, 1 May 2009

Ave Maria, gratia plena . . .

The Christian tradition of dedicating the month of May to Our Blessed Lady arose at about the end of the 13th Century. The practice of honouring Mary during May has been especially recommended by Popes. In his great Encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy (Mediator Dei), Pope Pius XII characterised it as one of 'other exercises of piety which although not strictly belonging to the Sacred Liturgy, are nevertheless of special import and dignity, and may be considered in a certain way to be an addition to the liturgical cult; they have been approved and praised over and over again by the Apostolic See and the Bishops.'

Pope Paul VI wrote a short Encyclical in 1965 using the month of May devotion as a means of obtaining prayers for peace.

Pope John Paul II said in May 2002, 'Today we begin the month dedicated to Our Lady, a favourite of popular devotion. In accord with a long-standing tradition of devotion, parishes and families continue to make the month of May a 'Marian' month, celebrating it with devout liturgies, catechetical and pastoral initiatives.'

The following are some of the practices which are recommended by the Magesterium and offered as suggestions for honouring Our Lady during the month.

The Regina Coeli, The Rosary, Litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Here at St Ann's we will pray the Rosary each Sunday in May at 4pm followed by Benediction.

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