WEST PALM BEACH | The Lourdes Noreen McKeen Residence in West Palm Beach honored Mary with an outdoor procession and crowning May 13, with a theme of “Believing Beyond COVID.”
“We just recently resumed normal activities with the expiration of the public health emergency, and we are ready to go forward with our theme,” said Carmelite Sister M. Kevin Patricia Lynch, CEO of the residence for senior citizens. “This is the first time we had the crowning outside. We always had the crowning in our chapel, but we are trying to go forward, and the residents are very happy.”
Carmelite Sister Ann Dailey, pastoral care director, said, “The May procession has been a tradition for the Catholic Church and Carmelite sisters to honor the Mother of God, who was always faithful to her son.”
Reflecting upon Mary, “She has helped many through her intercession with her Son,” Sister Dailey said. “She truly has been a faithful mother to him and to us, and this is our way of thanking her for her care.”
At the Lourdes Noreen McKeen Residence, she said, “we particularly celebrate the Blessed Mother in the month of May.”
It was beautiful weather for the procession and crowning of the Marian statue. The residents, staff, sisters and volunteers, who were not participating in the crowning, were seated or standing awaiting the procession.
The ceremony began with organist Chris Stone playing the May crowning song, “Bring Flowers of the Rarest,” as the court of women (Bonita Hajduk, Madonna McCutcheon, Diane Holum and Joanne Zak) presented Mary with flowers and Katie Garozzo presented the crown.
Ian Ramirez, an 8-year-old who recently received his first Communion at St. Ann Church in West Palm Beach, climbed up the ladder, assisted by staff member Bob Colvin, and placed a wreath of flowers atop the tall statue of Our Lady of Lourdes on the residence grounds.
Father Tomasz Bochnak, chaplain, blessed the statue of Mary and the faithful with holy water, saying, “We are gathered here to celebrate the crowning of Mary, our Mother of God, our spiritual mother.”
He led everyone in a prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, saying, “we are hoping that Mary will take care of us as she did for Jesus.”
The ceremony ended with a Hail Mary prayed in unison and with the singing of “Immaculate Mary.”
Ingrid Vargas, the mother of Ian who crowned the Marian statue, said, “Today we are here in thanksgiving for my son’s healing that I believe was due to the many, many rosaries and prayers prayed by the residents and staff here.”
The Carmelite Sisters of the Aged and Infirm came to West Palm Beach in 1960 and opened the Lourdes Residence inside the Lake Court Apartment Hotel on Flagler Drive. “The facility was the first of its kind in the area to provide nursing, long-term and seasonal housing for the elderly, all with the signature type of care that distinguished the order’s approach from others,” according to the residence website.
For more information on the Lourdes Noreen McKeen Residence, call 561-861-1440 or visit lourdesmckeen.org.