St. Matthew 8th graders lead long-standing tradition – May Crowning

Crowning the Blessed Mother in May is a long-standing tradition in the Church and the Archdiocese. Parishes and schools have their own unique way of crowning Mary. St. Matthew School Principal, Marc Nava, writes about their tradition for Catholic San Francisco.

On May 5, all 63 8th grade students of St. Matthew Catholic School participated in and led the May Crowning celebration during a school Mass at the parish church.

The May crowning celebration is a long-standing tradition at St. Matthew. Over the years, it has evolved, but its initial celebration consisted of a school-wide May procession and outdoor crowning ceremony.

Today, the crowning ceremony takes place in the church with the student body in attendance. The 8th grade boys stand as Honor Guards, and the 8th grade girls each process into the church and present the Blessed Mother with a rose. Three students represent their class as part of Mary’s Court. These three students are selected among their peers for this honor, and they crown Mary.

The day before the ceremony, each student receives a special package of flowers and other materials to prepare for the ceremony. Each boy makes and wears a boutonniere, and each girl makes and wears a floral crown.

Prior to the May Crowning celebration, the 8th graders gather in the church to learn about the life and virtues of Mary. They privately nominate a classmate they believe best exemplifies and lives out the virtues of Mary in their daily lives. The students with the top three nominations are selected to be a part of Mary’s Court, and the top nominated student has the privilege of crowning Mary.

At the start of the ceremony, the principal welcomes the congregation, names the individuals selected to be a part of Mary’s Court, and shares comments from the 8th grade class on why they nominated and selected each individual to be a part of Mary’s Court.

After a procession into the church by the 8th grade class and the crowning, the students lead the congregation in prayer. They first pray “Bendita Sea Tu Pureza” a prayer that they learned in Spanish class, then the “Hail Holy Queen,” followed by a decade of the rosary. The prayer service culminates in the celebration of holy Mass.