In the month of May, as we prepare to celebrate mothers for their dedication and importance to our families, we learn about and remember Mary, the Mother of God and the greatest saint, in a special way.
IDEA #1: LEARN ABOUT MARY
Mary grew up learning about the promise of the Messiah.
When she was a young girl, Mary was engaged to a man named Joseph. Before they were married, she received a vision of an angel who asked her to be the mother of the Messiah she had waited for her whole life. Mary accepted, saying "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).
Being the mother of Jesus was not an easy task. Mary’s life was full of great joys and great sorrows.
Mary and Joseph were poor people, so they both worked hard to provide food and shelter for Jesus. Mary raised her son in the traditions of her culture, presenting him in the temple when he was a baby and taking him to Jerusalem for the religious festivals. Since she knew who Jesus was and what his mission would be, it would have been a huge responsibility! During one trip to Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph lost Jesus. Since he was only twelve years old, they were very worried about him, and searched the city for three days. They finally found him in the temple, preaching to the elders and teachers.
When Jesus was an adult and began preaching, Mary accompanied him. She asked him to perform the miracle at Cana, in which he turned water into wine. Mary was completely faithful to the message that Jesus preached, and she was confident that he would grant her request. She instructed other people who were there to "do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).
Mary was also with Jesus when he carried his cross. She witnessed the terrible deeds that others committed against him. Because of her faith, Mary did not leave Jesus when he was suffering, even though it would have been a painful experience for her. She stood at the foot of the cross still listening to him and trying to comfort him.
It was there that Jesus entrusted all of us to her care. This mission was very close to Mary’s heart. She comforted the Apostles and prayed with them after Jesus' Ascension into heaven. Mary was with the Apostles when they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and watched them depart for many different countries to spread the Good News of God’s love.
Since Mary was the first to hear about the mission of Jesus, she is his first disciple. She dedicated her life on earth to following him and supporting his work. She showed others how to follow Jesus as well. Her faith came from an understanding of the great gifts that God had given to her, especially the gift of her son Jesus.
By following Mary, we can see the way to love Jesus more deeply and appreciate how much he loves us.
Catholics honor Mary every day of the year. We ask Mary to pray for us and speak to her son on our behalf. We remember the many ways God blessed Mary. We read about Mary in Scripture. But during the month of May, Mary is specially honored by devotions around the world.
IDEA #2: MAY CROWING
Some parishes have a celebration and a procession and coronation (or May crowning with flowers) of the statue of Mary. Children enjoy participating in these events and honoring Mary in this way, particularly if it’s a smaller scale crowning of a statue in their own religious education classroom.
IDEA #3: PRAYING THE ROSARY
Praying the Rosary is one of the many popular devotions to Mary, and during the month of May some parishes may offer a daily recitation of the Rosary. The Rosary is usually prayed using a string of beads with an attached crucifix. The prayers we pray during the Rosary create a peaceful rhythm of prayer during which we can reflect on special times in the lives of Jesus and Mary.
To pray the Rosary, begin with the Sign of the Cross. Then, pray the Apostles’ Creed. On every large bead, pray the Our Father. On every small bead, pray the Hail Mary. Pray a Glory Be to the Father after each set of small beads. To end the Rosary, pray the Hail, Holy Queen.
Each set of prayers is called a decade of the Rosary. While praying the Rosary, we recall a different mystery at the beginning of each decade: the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries, or the Mysteries of Light. One of the Joyful Mysteries—the Visitation (the visit of Mary with Elizabeth as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, Luke 1:39–56)—is a feast day of Mary celebrated during this month, on May 25.
During Mary’s month, make an extra effort to pray the Rosary at home with family members or with the students in your religious education program.
IDEA #4: TRADITIONAL PRAYERS
When Mary accepted her role as the Mother of the Savior, she knew that he was her Savior as well. She exclaimed her gratitude to God in her prayer we call the Magnificat. We honor Mary by praying this prayer, and other special prayers. We ask Mary to pray for us and speak to her son on our behalf.
Explore and share some of these prayers with the Praying with Mary Prayer Card, which contains prayers to honor Mary, Mother of God, and the Church’s greatest saint. Share it with the students and families in your religious education program this month as you honor Mary in a special way.
IDEA #5: MARY SCRIPTURE QUEST
Mary was the first to hear about the mission of Jesus. Mary’s faith came from an understanding of the great gifts that God had given to her, especially the gift of her Son, Jesus. She dedicated her life on earth to following him and showing others how to follow him. Have children and students study the Bible to learn more about Mary!
The Mary Scripture Quest Activity will challenge students to find, read, and cite passages from their Bibles related to Mary, Mother of God.
All you need to plan and implement this Bible activity for teens is a Bible and a copy of the Mary Scripture Quest Activity for each student. You may want to pair groups of students to complete this bible worksheet together.
May is Mary’s month.By following Mary, we can see the way to love Jesus more deeply and appreciate how much he loves us. Use these free resources to learn about and remember Mary, the Mother of God.
|Mary, Mother of God Activity|
Sandro Botticelli [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons