SIDNEY — The month of May in the Catholic Church is traditionally a time to honor Mary, the Mother of God. Students at Lehman Catholic High School celebrated the month of May by honoring Mary at the school’s annual May Crowning. The ceremony took place following the weekly 10 a.m. all-school Mass.
Reverend James Riehle and Reverend Sean Wilson was on hand to celebrate Mass and preside over the May Crowning.
Senior Theresa Schmiesing, who was chosen by her classmates for the honor of crowning Mary at the May Crowning Ceremonies on May 5. The May Crowning Court also included Sidney Chapman and Kaitrin O’Leary. These students were selected because they display the virtues of joyfulness, gratitude, hopefulness, holiness, humility, honesty, goodness, forgiveness, and peacefulness, also shown by the Blessed Virgin Mary. Schmiesing is the daughter of Kevin and Anne Schmiesing of Sidney. Chapman is the daughter of Lowell and Michelle Chapman of Sidney. O’Leary is the daughter of David and Emily O’Leary of Sidney.
During the crowning ceremony, Lehman students and staff recited several prayers including the “Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
The custom of crowning the statue of Our Lady or laying flowers at its base began in Italy in the 1750’s. The practice quickly spread across Europe and was often done on May 31, the feast day of the Queenship of Mary.
In the United States, May Crownings were especially popular in the 1950’s and were often big events on the calendars of Catholic schools and parishes. After the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church in the late 1950s, the practice was discouraged for a time because it was thought that too much attention was being given to Mary and that the faithful should be giving their full attention to Jesus.
In the 1970’s, under Pope John Paul II, there was a resurgence of Marian devotion in the Catholic Church, allowing May Crowning to again become a popular custom. Lehman Catholic has been having an annual May Crowning for over 30 years.