Saturday, June 15, 2013

Compendium of the 1961 Revision of the Pontificale Romanum - Part 11.2: The Crowning of an Image of the Virgin Mary (1961)

After the blessing of an image of the Virgin Mary, the revised Pontifical of 1961 adds a ceremony that is not included in the Pontifical of Clement VIII, an “Order for Crowning an Image of the Virgin Mary.” The custom of placing crowns on important pictures and statues of the Virgin is a hugely popular one, especially in Italy; many of them also have a crown on the Infant Jesus whom She is holding. To give an idea of just how popular the custom was: in 1636, an Italian count, Alessandro Sforza Pallavicini, left to the Chapter of St. Peter’s Basilica an endowment to pay for golden crowns to place on especially venerated images of the Mother of God. Requests were to be submitted for the Chapter’s approval by local churches; if the approval was given, a painting of the image with the crown on it was then sent back to the Chapter, which now has over 3000 such images in its collection. There were a variety of rituals and local traditions observed at these crownings, and the ritual of the revised Pontifical is not added to the prejudice of other customs.
For the crowning according to the new order of 1961, the bishop wears a white cope and “auryphrigiata” mitre. The bishop blesses the crown (or crowns, if the infant Jesus is in the image) on the altar, with the following prayer, preceded by “Adjutorium nostrum” and “Dominus vobiscum”.
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose most merciful dispensation all things are created of nothing, we humbly pray Thy majesty, that Thou may deign to + bless these crowns (or this crown) made to adorn the sacred image of (Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, and His Mother) the most blessed Virgin Mary. Through (the same) Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
(The words in the red parentheses are said if the infant Jesus is also present in the image.) The bishop sprinkles the crown or crowns with holy water, then imposes incense in a thurible and incenses them. He then kneels before the altar and intones the Salve Regina, or in Eastertide, Regina caeli, which are sung in the more solemn tone.
As the bishop then places the crown or crowns on the image, he says before that of the Christ, “As Thou art crowned by our hands on earth, so also may we merit to be crowned by Thee with glory and honor in heaven.” As he crowns the Virgin, he says “As Thou art crowned by our hands on earth, so also through Thee, may we merit to be crowned by Thy Son Jesus Christ with glory and honor in heaven.” (The former is of course omitted if the image shows only the Virgin.)
He then adds these versicles
V. A golden crown upon her head.
R. Wherein was engraved Holiness, an ornament of honor: a work of might. (Sirach, 45, 14)
V. Thou hast crowned Her, Lord.
R. And set Her over the works of Thy hand. (Psalm 8, 6-7)
and the following prayer.
Grant, o merciful Father, through the invocation of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, whom Thou didst will to take on the flesh for the salvation of the human race, while preserving the integrity of the Virgin Mary; that all who shall strive humbly to honor the Queen of Mercy before this image, may be delivered from present dangers, obtain forgiveness of their sins, merit in this present life to obtain the grace which they desire, and rejoice in perpetual salvation in the next. Through the same Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
The bishop intones the Te Deum, which is continued by the choir, after which he says “Dominus vobiscum”, and the following prayer, the prayer normally said when the Te Deum is recited as a public act of thankgiving.
O God, of whose mercies there is no number, and the treasure of whose goodness is infinite, we give thanks to Thy most gracious majesty, for the gifts Thou hast bestowed upon us, ever beseeching Thy clemency, that as Thou grantest the petitions of those that ask Thee, Thou never forsake them, but prepare them for the rewards to come. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen. 
A view of the Polish Chapel in grotto of St. Peter’s Basilica. The mosaic copy of the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa on the reredos was decorated with two crowns on the morning of April 2, 2005, placed there by Cardinal Marian Jaworski at the behest of Pope John Paul II, who died on the evening of that day. The crowns are decorated with jewels offered by the faithful at the famous shrine in Częstochowa, Poland, where the original image has been venerated for centuries; both crowns have the Papal motto Totus tuus written along the bottom.

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