by Sister Diane Heiss, SDSH
Less than a year ago, Queen Elizabeth, the longest reigning British monarch, died on Sept. 8, 2022. A diversity of movies has portrayed her, and the media widely carried details of her death and funeral.
Many countries have been ruled by royalty, some good and others tyrannical. They have worn crowns; lived in castles with numerous servants; commanded armies; and shaped their countries’ foreign
policies. Although we do not have a monarchy, there is another queen we can greet daily if we wish. She never wore a crown, lived in a castle, commanded servants or armies, hosted diplomatic events; but is the greatest and most virtuous and loving of all queens.
The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Queenship of Mary on Aug. 22, the octave of the feast of the Assumption of Mary on Aug. 15. As mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and King of the Universe, she deserves the title “Queen.”
In the Book of Revelation, we read that “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev. 12:1), traditionally understood as referring to our Blessed Mother. Pope Pius Xll established this feast in 1954, four years after proclaiming the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. When the angel Gabriel brought God’s invitation to Mary to become the mother of His Son, Jesus, she did not extol her virtues or justify why she should be the recipient of such a favor. In her humility she responded, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk. 1:38) She has never used this role to call attention to herself, but always points to her son and asks us to “Do whatever He tells you.” (Jn. 2: 5-7)
As we pray the fourth decade of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, the “Assumption of Mary, body and soul, into Heaven” we can consider her loving and joyful welcome into heaven by the Holy Trinity along with all the angels and saints.
The final decade of the Glorious Mysteries is “The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth.” Imagine how Mary must have felt when welcomed home and embraced by her Son, Jesus, after His Ascension into Heaven. What must it have been like for her when crowned Queen? As Jesus was dying on the cross, he gave her to us as our mother, and each of us to her as her children. (Jn.19: 26–27) Now at the Coronation of Mary, Jesus gives her to us as our Queen. Even though she is our queen, she is always our loving mother, and therefore knows and understands us and wants the absolute best for us – that we too would be at home with her and Jesus in Heaven. In the “Hail, Holy Queen” prayer originating around the 11th century, we address her not only as queen but also as “Mother of Mercy.”
We can depend on her mercy, especially as we conclude each “Hail Mary” with the words “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”
WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
■ Slowly and reflectively pray the “Act of Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary” by Pope Francis on March 25, 2022. (https://www.usccb.org/prayers/act-consecration-
■ Read the following excerpt from the above prayer and share ideas of how you can be peacemakers in your home, neighborhood, school and workplace. “Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the
world. Queen of the Rosary, make us realize our need to pray and to love. Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity. Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.”
■ Pray the 4th and 5th decades of the Glorious Mysteries together.
■ On Aug. 22, decorate a cake or cookies with a crown, pray the “Hail Holy Queen” and then enjoy.
■ Choose online crafts with the theme of the Queenship of Mary for your children.
■ Help your children make crowns to wear in honor of Mary, our Queen and our mother