MERIDEN — Students at Our Lady of Mount Carmel crowned a statue of Mary during their annual May Crowning celebration on Monday.
Norine McDermott, principal of the parochial school, explained that the patron saint of both the school and the associated parish is Mary, who Catholics believe is the mother of Jesus.
“ ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel’ actually describes Mary,” McDermott said, “so we honor her by crowning her every year.”
Students placed a crown made of artificial flowers on the head of the statue in the school’s courtyard, after each grade participated in a celebration.
Monday’s event followed a similar one at the church Saturday.
Eighth-grade teacher Nancy Maier organized the event, which her students led with a brief history of the importance of honoring Mary. One student pointed out that not much is mentioned about the saint in the Bible, but there is enough to provide an example of her life.
After some explanation, preschool and kindergarten students brought gifts of paper flowers to a basket near the statue.
According to information published about Mary’s Month by the University of Dayton, a Roman Catholic university in Dayton, Ohio, flowers represent the love children have for their mother, and the uniqueness of each flower is a reminder of the uniqueness of each individual as well.
First- and sixth-graders sang “Hail Mary, Gentle Woman,” before the whole school prayed to the saint for protection.
Then third-graders lined up to make a “crowning arch” while seventh-graders sang a crowning song.
A brief Bible reading followed, and after that fifth-graders recited the Memorare, a Catholic prayer to Mary.
Second-graders read a poem about the saint, while fourth-graders held up portraits they drew based on what they thought Mary looked like.
Eighth-graders Kaeley Kostenko and Tyanna Medrano walked through the crowning arch. Medrano held a blue pillow adorned with a doily that held the crown, and Kostenko climbed up a step ladder to place the crown on the statue. Maier said a student made the floral crown “years ago. We’ve been using it ever since.”
“That was pretty neat,” Medrano said afterward.
The two were chosen by random drawing to carry and place the crown.
“It’s a big honor,” McDermott said.
The crown will stay on the statue until the end of May, Maier said.
“It’s fitting that it’s around Mother’s Day,” McDermott said. “It’s a nice time to honor our own mothers as well as our Mother Mary.”
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