Parishioners honor Blessed Mother in Lancaster Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herld Staff   
Thursday, May. 12, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
st. clement, lancaster march
Parishioners of St. Clement Parish in Lancaster, with Pastor Fr. John Sasse, process down S. Madison St. with a statue and image of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Sunday, May 1. The procession was held to ask for Mary’s intercession for good weather, a good harvest, and other intercessions. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

LANCASTER -- Sunday, May 1.

The first day of the month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

May 1 was a chance for one Catholic community in the Diocese of Madison to honor the Blessed Mother, give thanks for her intercession, and pray for the year ahead.

The prayers to Jesus through Mary started that day at St. Clement Church in Lancaster, the county seat of Grant County in southwestern Wisconsin.

Enrollment in the Brown Scapular

The first special event of the day began at the 9 a.m. Mass. Following his homily, Pastor Fr. John Sasse enrolled the recent parish second grade First Communicants into the Brown Scapular.

In what was a display of family faith togetherness, parents of First Communicants were also enrolled into the scapular at the same time.

The Brown Scapular is worn as a sign of devotion to the Blessed Mother.

A promise made by Mary is that those who wear the scapular when they die will not suffer the pains of hell.

“Receive this scapular as the sign of your acceptance into the confraternity of the Religious family of the Mount Carmel, which is dedicated to the Blessed Trinity up to the Passion of Jesus Christ. Live in such a way that, with the help of the mother of God, you may more and more put on Christ, who redeemed us by his blood, for the glory of the Trinity and for the service of the Church and of your neighbor,” said Father Sasse as he placed to scapulars on those to be enrolled.

May crowning and procession

Following Mass, and coffee, donuts, and fellowship among parishioners, was a May crowning, blessing, and procession.

The day’s rainy and cool temperatures meant the crowning would take place in the school gym, but the outside procession went on as scheduled.

“We come to this month of May, a month dedicated in a special way to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of God,” Father Sasse said in an opening prayer. He then spoke of the many titles Mary has, including “Mother Thrice Admirable,” Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, a religious movement whose Sisters have a relationship with St. Clement School and Parish.

Next, was the crowning of a statue of Mary performed by young girls from the parish.

“We crown her to show she is the queen of our hearts just as she is the queen of the Church,” said Father Sasse.

Following the singing of “Hail, Holy Queen,” scripture readings, and prayers, Father Sasse explained it was the second year the parish honored Mary with a procession.

The intentions then and now were for good weather and a good harvest.

Father Sasse remarked there were no tornadoes and no terrible blizzards over the past year and there was a good harvest.

He invited everyone to offer up their own intentions to Mary for the procession.

“We make a procession, in honor of our mother in heaven, showing that she will intercede for us before God -- that her intercession is the most powerful ever known,” Father Sasse said.

The procession took place around the nearby Grant County Courthouse, which serves as a sign that the blessings through Mary’s intercession would spread throughout the whole county.

Processing with Mary

Following the praying of the “Litany of Loreto,” Father Sasse blessed the statue of Mary and an image of Mother Thrice Admirable.

The prayers were that all those who venerate the images “may by her merits, obtain grace of this life and the eternal glory of heaven.”

Following the blessing, everyone lined up outside the church for the procession.

It was led by the Mass servers and followed by Father Sasse, the recent first Communicants, the statue of Mary, the image of Mother Thrice Admirable, and St. Clement parishioners.

As the procession got underway, and passed by the courthouse, everyone prayed the Rosary asking for Mary’s intercession.

The prayers for good weather may have been immediately answered as the gray skies did not send down rain among the parishioners.

As the procession rounded the block of the courthouse, it returned to the church where the Rosary was continued, while parishioners knelt in the pews in prayer.

Following the Rosary, there were more hymns and prayers to honor Mary and ask for her intercession.

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