May Devotion to Mary


by Agnes Marie


Pope Pius XII, recognizing traditional precedents, proclaimed the "Queenship of Mary" through his encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam.


One particular practice characteristic of May devotions is the May Altar, whether in a church or as a "house altar" in the home. Marian devotions such as the rosary may take place within the family around this altar consisting of a table with a Marian picture, candles, and decorated with many May flowers The custom of the May Altar stems from southern European countries. With the development of May Altars in churches, the custom spread to set up this type of "altar" also in the home.


This specific devotion has been supported be several popes including Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Ingruentium malorum:


The custom of the family recitation of the Holy Rosary is a most efficacious means. What a sweet sight - most pleasing to God - when, at eventide, the Christian home resounds with the frequent repetition of praises in honor of the High Queen of Heaven! Then the Rosary, recited in the family, assembled before the image of the Virgin, in an admirable union of hearts, the parents and their children, who come back from their daily work. It unites them piously with those absent and those dead. It links all more tightly in a sweet bond of love, with the most Holy Virgin, who, like a loving mother, in the circle of her children, will be there bestowing upon them an abundance of the gifts of concord and family peace.