The advent of May, the month dedicated to Mary, brings us longer evenings, warm sunshine, blossom in abundance – and above all, a sense of hope and quiet joy in the certainty of brighter days to come.
This May, we remain restricted in our movements as we take tentative steps towards emerging from national lockdown. In keeping with the time-honoured tradition of honouring Mary throughout the month of May, we invite you to create your own May altar in your home, a daily opportunity for reflection, thanksgiving, and peaceful prayer to Our Lady.
You can prepare your altar on any small, flat space, such as a table, a shelf, a windowsill, a bookshelf, or a mantelpiece. A statue or picture of Our Lady is placed in the centre of the space, on a white or blue piece of cloth, and the altar is then adorned with flowers of all types. Many people choose to use wild flowers, which are in plentiful supply at this time of year, while others prefer to use flowers traditionally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, such as white lilies (symbolic of her purity) or roses (a symbol of her love of God).
Complete your altar with a candle. Take some time each day to light this and pause in quiet prayer, on your own or with family, in a moment of rest and reflection amid the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.
Many people pray the rosary daily at their May altar, asking for Our Lady’s intercession. Below, you’ll also find Pope Francis’ Prayer to Mary during the coronavirus pandemic.
With every grace and blessing of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart for a peaceful, prayerful, and healthy month of May.
Pope Francis’ Prayer to Mary
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.