While the month of April can struggle to warm up from the slight chill that occupies the early weeks of spring, nothing says “spring has arrived” more powerfully than the crowning of Mary. On Friday, May 10, our school community celebrated the special presence of the Blessed Mother by commemorating this Marian month with a moving tribute of faith, love and adoration to Mary.
At St. Agnes, we don’t simply hand-pick a student to serve as the crowner of Mary. Rather, our selection method employs a reflective, academic process. To this point, the manner in which we arrive at the small group of 8th grade students who serve on the Crowning Corps began with an assigned English Language Arts composition. The essay asked each member of the class of 2019 to expound upon the special influence that the Blessed Mother has had on their life. From there, three members of the St. Agnes School Board read each of the papers without a name attached to the essay. From this reading, six students were selected as finalists and were invited to meet with our School Board interview panel. These three panel members then selected the May Crowning Court based both on the written essay and the oral interview. This practice is intentionally coordinated in a way which makes the process truly neutral. Accordingly, I would like to extend my appreciation to our interview team of Sr. Peter Verona, Kate Gilbert and Sarah Grago. Their thoughtful discernment provided a foundation in selecting a diverse group of male and female, Catholics and non-Catholics students to serve as members of the Crowning Corps. I am pleased to recognize this outstanding representation of young people: Crowner - Sophia McCaul; Crown Bearer - Nia Delly-Green; Crowning Court - Tsion Solomon, Seamus Smith, Kemari Johnson and Madison Paradella.
As we arrived at this blessed occasion, our school community processed around the campus as Fr. Foppiano led us in the praying of the Rosary. This procession ended with our entire school entering through the main vestibule of the church as the Crowning ceremony commenced. As our student leaders adorned the image of the Blessed Mother with countless bouquets of spring flowers, our community was reminded of the beautiful tradition where in every part of the world, our Catholic faith celebrates the Queen of Heaven. And while some may see this custom as out dated, I have come to appreciate this prayer service event as a custom that proudly straddles the line between tradition and the charism of our growing faith. As believers, the May Crowning offers us a fitting occasion in which to honor Mary with glorious praise. And as I reflect on this memorable event, it would not have occurred without the dedicated leadership of three of my colleagues. Therefore, I would like to extend my appreciation to those teachers who played an instrumental role in the May Crowning: Dan Baker, Elaine Liberto and Heather Shea.
So some may ask, are May Crowning’s out
dated? Quite the contrary. Customs like honoring the Blessed Mother is a fashionable tradition that helps nourish one’s growing faith. And yes, May Crowning’s still occur at St. Agnes and remain vital to who we are as a Catholic community.