Youngsters deep in tradition

Students at Holy Redeemer School in Montrose carried out an ancient Catholic tradition at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church on Wednesday, presenting a crown of flowers to a statue of Mary as a way to honor the mother of Jesus.

Amanda Metz, 13, was selected by her classmates as this year’s May Queen, and had the responsibility of delivering the wreath of flowers to a statue of Mary inside the church.

“I’m really honored and I’m excited,” Amanda said about her role.

Dressed all in white and escorted by classmate Daniel Dietz, 13, Amanda carried a pink wreath of roses on a white pillow down the center aisle of the church at the start of Mass, placing the crown on the head of the statue.

“It symbolizes that she is the mother of our religion and the mother of Jesus, who we follow,” said teacher Nelson Wong.

The school elects as the May Queen a student who most exhibits the characteristics of Mary, like kindness, said Susan Fite, the principal at Holy Redeemer.

The Catholic Church has shown its respect for Mary in this way for at least 1,000 years, said the Rev. Ed Dover, pastor of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church.

“It’s a nice way to honor Mary,” said science teacher Cathi Garia. “And it makes them honor their own mothers as well.”

During much of Wednesday’s Mass, Dover and students discussed the significance of Mary for Catholics, as well as the significance of mothers in general.

“We know that there is no gift more precious than mothers,” said Helen Schaefer, 7, as she opened the Mass.

Everyone should respect their own mothers, Dover advised, but Mary was singular among mothers because she was Jesus’ mother, he said.

“We do hold Mary up a little bit higher, because she is the mother of Jesus,” he said.

Dover also cautioned that Catholics shouldn’t ever put their reverence for Mary above that for Jesus. Mary’s special status is derived because she is Jesus’ mother and she was a good follower of Jesus, Dover said.

“Today, we giver her a crown of flowers, and we remember,” he said.

Mary is an important role model for young people because she was just a regular person in almost every way, Dover said.

Amanda’s own mother, Margaret Metz, was there to watch her daughter express the school’s appreciation for Mary.

“It was so beautiful,” Metz said of the ceremony.


 ANGELA HOKANSON covers education. She may be reached at (818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at angelahokanson@latimes.com.

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