Chaplain Writes

The Chaplain writes

The Month of Ma(r)y

Dear Saints,

Our local church is called after Mary the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is, therefore, interesting to note that within the Western Church, especially the Roman Catholic Church, May has been dedicated as the “Month of Mary.” A time set aside to honour St Mary. We are celebrating her life and commitment to God. Her life exemplifies humility, obedience, and unwavering faith, making her a shining example to emulate on our faith journey as fellow believers.

But why the month of May? The Greeks and Romans celebrated spring festivals dedicated to deities who represented fertility and beauty. This was the goddess Flora for the Romans, celebrated during the Floralia festival.

As Christianity spread and integrated into various cultural contexts, these traditional celebrations often took on Christian meanings. The specific association of May with Mary in the Western Churches began more distinctly in the medieval period. However, it was only by the 18th century that the practice of dedicating May to Mary had become more formalised within the Roman Catholic Church.

As Anglicans, May has not specifically been set aside as “Mary’s Month”. In the Evening Prayer liturgy, the “Song of Mary” is one of the set Canticles. It’s a beautiful prayer that reminds us that God is merciful to those who walk in God’s ways, stands up for the poor and marginalised, and encourages us to live the Word of Christ in the world:

Magnificat (The Song of Mary)

1 My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
2 From this day, all generations will call me blessed; the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
3 He has mercy on those who fear him, from generation to generation.
4 He has shown strength with his arm and has scattered the proud in their conceit,

5 Casting down the mighty from their thrones and lifting up the lowly.
6 He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.
7 He has come to the aid of his servant Israel to remember his promise of mercy,
8 The promise made to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.
(Luke 1.46-55)

Let us pray these words from our chaplaincy’s matron Saint Mary more fervently and receive inspiration from these words this coming month, as we offer our evening prayer and as we pray for our renewal and transformation and that of the world we live in.

Yours in Christ as always,

Revd Jacque Williams