While August 22nd used to be reserved for the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pope Paul VI moved it to the Saturday following the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, bringing Jesus and Mary closer. Now, August 22nd marks the celebration of the Queenship of Mary. We hear about Mary’s coronation in the fifth Glorious Mystery of the Holy Rosary and we often see Mary depicted with a crown upon her head. This feast allows us an opportunity to celebrate her official title as the Mother of Christ the King and as the Queen of Heaven and Earth.
Pope Pius XII, the same pope who declared The Assumption a dogma of the Church, was the one who issued the encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam, “To the Queen of Heavens,” and first instituted this feast day. On the inaugural celebration of Mary’s queenship, Pope Pius XII commemorated the start of this tradition by “crowning” the painting in St. Mary Major, Salus Populi Romani, and leading a procession in Our Lady’s honor.
The Pope pointed out that this was a fitting and expected feast because of Mary’s role in Salvation History. She is the Mother of God and therefore her queenship is a sharing in Christ’s kingship. Mary was already proclaimed as “Queen” in hymns and litanies, regarded as the queen-mother in typical Davidic tradition, and assumed her role as Sacred Scripture foretold, so a formal feast under this title was both appropriate and forthcoming.
Pope Pius XII made it clear in his encyclical that Mary was granted this title because she is the New Eve as Christ is the New Adam, and her intercessory power combined with her Immaculate Conception points to the vital role she played in Jesus’s redemption of mankind. Our Lady is deserving of all the love, praise, and admiration that we can shower on her name and a celebration of her queenship is just another opportunity to show it.
While this day is not as well-known or celebrated as the Immaculate Conception or the Assumption, the Scriptural evidence of Mary’s crowning in Heaven goes back to Revelation. “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.” (Revelations 12:1) The description of the woman is very similar to the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and this passage is why Mary as a queen is often depicted with a crown of twelve stars.
If you are looking for the perfect way to honor and venerate Our Queen of Heaven and Earth, join us live at 7pm CT for the Family Rosary Across America and bring all your intentions before Mary, Our Mother, Our Lady, and Our Queen.
Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us!