Mary, full of grace

The Lord is with you

May is the month devoted to Mary.  The Marian tradition is a central and, for many people, a much loved part of Catholic tradition and developed over the centuries.  Much of this understanding of Mary, or Mariology as it is called, came to life in the prayers and devotion, in the hearts and deeply felt pious sense of believers, and some of these beliefs later became enshrined in teachings. 

Theologically, in the Catholic perspective, Mary has a precise place in Salvation as the ‘mediatrix of grace’, the one through whom God’s salvation of humanity through Jesus has been fulfilled. 

There are four dogmas relating to Mary: the perpetual virginity of Mary; Mary the Mother of God; the Immaculate Conception; the Assumption.  The Immaculate Conception is the teaching that Mary herself was conceived free of original sin, and although the belief was widely held since at least late Antiquity, the doctrine was only formally proclaimed in 1854 by Pope Pius IX.   The dogma of the Assumption states that “the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as queen over all things” (Catholic Catechism).  This was only formally declared in 1950.

During the month of May various devotions to Mary take place.  A traditional devotion is the crowning of Mary as the Queen of May, and although this is not as popular as it once was, it is still a much loved practice in some communities.  Another custom is that of rather elaborate processions, carrying a statue of Mary through the streets, and this too has remained popular in some traditionally Catholic countries. 

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Ms Kerry McCullough

Spirituality and Liturgy Coordinator