Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How to Organize a May Crowning (2016)

Today, the homeschoolers at my parish participated in a May Crowning and ice cream social. I find this tradition a really lovely one, important enough to me that I volunteered to take over its organization this year after the generous family who organized it for years retired from doing so.

I took the time to write how I organized our May Crowning for any others who want to do so because I want to encourage this devotion.

Catholics devote the month of May to the Blessed Mother, so a crowning any time during this month is a wonderful devotion. It isn't too late to start planning even for this month of May (although it's likely too late to get on the typical parish priest's calendar if you want his involvement: we booked ours about nine months in advance)!

One could organize for one's entire homeschool group at the parish grounds, for a small group of friends in one's back yard, or just with one's own children (which our family did last year).

I began by sending out an invitation via email to our homeschoolers' list, including in it a Sign Up Genius link so people could commit to bringing ice cream, toppings, ice cream scoopers, bowls, and spoons.

I asked the priest which statue on the grounds that he wanted to be crowned, then found out from our liturgical director the diameter of the statue's head, as well as requested from her to set out large vases at the base of the statue. I also arranged with the maintenance man to set out folding tables (for the ice cream) and a stepladder (to ascend to the statue).

I called a local florist to order a crown of flowers for the statue's head, plus I picked up some extra cut flowers for those who forget (and there are always some because we are harried mothers), even though I had asked the parents all to bring cut flowers for their children to carry.

Folding the Orders of Worship

My husband and I designed a small Order of Worship for the children and parents to use. It would have been very simple had it not been for my husband, who designs things so beautifully and has access to a color printer. (If you'd like to use such an Order of Worship for your May Crowning, please email me and I will email you the Word document, so you can print it as is, or make edits.)

Our parish priest led us in our May Crowning, which is an ideal example of Marian devotion for the children. We don't want little Catholics growing up thinking that loving our Blessed Mother is reserved for children or women! If a priest were not available, a father leading would be the next best thing, but anyone leading is better than not doing a crowning at all.

We began in the plaza outside the church with a prayer, then sang a Marian hymn (e.g., Immaculate Mary) while processing into the church. This year's First Holy Communicants wore their suits and white gowns, leading the way, and all children carried flowers. A girl (a First Holy Communicant, if possible) should be the one to do the actual crowning, while boys can learn the art of being an honorable gentleman by steadying the stepladder or the like.

At the statue, we prayed one decade of the Rosary (brief because of about 50 children, including babies and toddlers, comprising the group) before singing another Marian hymn while recessing (i.e., Hail Holy Queen).

Then Father gave a short homily or instruction on the devotion to Mary. (One could also lead the children in making a consecration to Mary.)

Because treats always make things better, we then retrieved the ice cream from the freezer and held an ice cream social--the First Holy Communicants having changed into rough-and-tumble play clothing!

In summary, a list of supplies useful for a May Crowning and Ice Cream Social:

  • Ice cream
  • Toppings
  • Bowls
  • Spoons
  • Ice cream scoopers
  • Bottles or water or an Igloo and cups
  • Flowers (everyone brings their own, plus the organizer brings some extras for those who forget)
  • A floral crown (make your own or buy one from a florist)
  • Baby wipes (for cleaning up sticky hands and wiping down tables)
  • Hand sanitizing gel
  • Disposable table cloths (makes clean-up after ice cream 
  • Big black garbage bag to collect refuse
  • Perhaps a few balls or play things for the children to play with afterward

A May Crowning can be so incredibly simple, even using flowers from one's own yard and a statue, however small, of Mary. Invite just your neighbors or only your own children: it's still a wonderful tradition to pass on!


  1. My goodness, that Order of Worship is beautiful! So elegant!

  2. I agree: the booklet was LOVELY, and led to a lovely prayer experience! Thanks for all the prep work you did, and for sharing these pictures, many of which I copied onto my computer for us to remember our participation. :D