WATCH: Sacred Heart Academy's May Crowning & Magnificat (2019)

Updated: Oct 7, 2019

The month of May is one bad mama jama. Its temperatures are comfortably mild, oscillating between the extremes of winter freeze and the muggy swelter of Michigan summers. Better yet, May is jam-packed with liturgical significance. I mean, c'mon, just look at those feast days!

And think, this list doesn't include Memorial Day, Mother's Day, or even "Free Comic Book Day," much less my daughter Sami's birthday (May 22, RIP), which just so happens to be one of my all-time favorite secular holidays! And, actually, come to think of it, this calendar is missing something else... something momentous... elegant & enchanting...

Ah-ha! I know what this calendar is missing! It's missing:

Sacred Heart Academy's 2019 May Crowning & Magnificat!

P.S. A friend of mine on Facebook asked me to explain the symbolism/significance of the blue sashes worn by many of the girls. Here is my reply. If any of you feel that I've missed (or even misrepresented) something, please let me know in the comment section.

My daughter (on right) is wearing a blue sash.

Historically, the Roman Catholic Church has used different colors to represent various qualities, characteristics, and emotions, both concerning people and seasons. This may be seen most clearly in the vestments worn by the priest, which happen to correspond with the color of linens used for the altar. For example, Lent is a season for humility and repentance, so the priest will wear melancholic colors like red- and dark-violet. Similarly, Masses for the Dead (what we call Requiem Masses) are sad and sorrowful, so the priest will be seen wearing black and purple. On the other end of the color/emotion spectrum would be colors like white and gold. These represent purity and triumph, so expect to see them during the festive cycles of Christmas and Easter.

Bouguereau's "Virgin of the Angels"

This kind of color coordination can also be seen in the church's iconography. For the most part, Catholic artists have portrayed Christ in red robes (signifying earth, blood, humanity) and blue cloaks (symbolizing heaven, royalty, divinity), though you may also see him dressed in white (indicating his purity & holiness). The same goes for the Blessed Virgin Mary but in her case, blue represents her role as Theotokos, having borne the divinity within her womb, whereas white symbolizes her immaculate conception and perpetual virginity. For example, consider Adolphe-William Bouguereau's painting, "Virgin of the Angels." It's one of my all-time favorite images of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus, and if you look closely, you'll notice she's wearing red, white, and blue.

So, when it comes to the attire of Catholic girls in the May Crowning, their white gowns and veils represent their innocence, virginal purity, and betrothal to Christ, whereas the blue sash symbolizes their having been wrapped in the royal colors of Our Lady, the Queen Mother.