Last Sunday we held our May Devotion. At 8am Mass we ended with the Salve Regina and offered prayers before the image of Our Lady in church. At 9:15am Mass, and at the 11am, we processed the church grounds, sang Marian hymns and ended with Solemn Benediction. It was a good Sunday with clouds of incense, hearty hymns and lots of smiles.
The May Devotion is a grass roots phenomenon stemming from the 18th Century when, in Rome, a peasant child gathered his friends, one balmy May evening, and led them to an image of Our Lady in the city to sing a litany. The children decided to do it again the following night and brought more friends. Soon the crowd was swelled by mothers, fathers and local clergy. A tradition was born. And now across the world Catholics offer heightened devotion to the Mother of Our Lord in this month of May. A month which in the UK, due to the lush growth of Spring, chimes with the Eastertide themes of birth and fresh hope.
The May devotion is a source of encouragement in times of hardship for the church. It reminds us that we are not dependent on a human hierarchy for grace. We need not ask permission to build up the life of faith so long as we remain obedient to the magisterium. And it reminds us that the long term health of the church is not ultimately dependent on better bishops but better laity. For it is only when our families and communities put devotion front and centre that healthy vocations are born and faith begins to bear fruit. Pray that this holy month might embolden us to live the faith as God intended.