Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt of white-gowned girls replaced a previous prompt featuring a May Pole dance. Either one takes me back to my childhood in Cradock when the “Maper Session” was a spectacle that the entire community turned out to see.
So had we not stopped attending Mass at Holy Angels regularly, I would have been there in my fancy dress and patent leather shoes marching in the “Maper Session” with my friends. Instead I stood in the crowd of onlookers.
But “Maper Session” is not what it was called, only what my child-size ears heard. It was the MAY PROCESSION.
The May Procession is just one part of the May devotion, an annual ritual observed in the Catholic Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. There is no particular structure to this observance, but it might include visits to churches dedicated to Mary, creation of Mary gardens, special Mass incorporating the singing of Marian hymns and reading of pertinent scripture, family devotions, and service to the community. With Mary as mother of Jesus, it is fitting that Mothers Day coincides with this month-long celebration of Mary’s role in the history of salvation.
Most people who lined up along Afton Parkway, Dahlgren Avenue, and Prospect Parkway to watch the parade saw only cute children dressed up for church. But the Holy Angels Catholic Church May Procession was more than that.
I extend a special Thank-You to Margaret Allein Dyas who supplied me with these photos from May 1959 and her memories.
|Patty Dyas is the one in the blue plaid dress|
|Different color dresses for each grade|
An older girl, usually from the seventh grade, was selected to be the Queen of May.
A well-known Marian "Queen of May" song ends with the words:
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today!
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.
When the children finished the procession around the block, they entered the church where an altar was covered with red roses. The practice of honoring Mary with flowers can be traced to the convents and monasteries of medieval times.
|Is the little boy carrying a crown?|
The climax of the May Procession was the crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary with flowers. Typically this was performed by the Queen of May.
Undoubtedly no one but the Catholics understood what the parade was all about, but the May Procession never failed to be one of the most beautiful and joyful events of the year.
Please join the procession to Sepia Saturday.