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 | By Michelle DiFranco

A Dessert Fit for a May Crowning

If there was ever a moment I desperately wanted on camera, it was when I discovered my daughter and niece taking part in a May crowning ceremony they had put together in our backyard.

It was a pleasantly cool, sunny day in May, and I was getting dinner ready in the kitchen. Through an open window, I heard the faint and tender voices of young girls singing “Hail Holy Queen.” I looked up and noticed my then 9-year-old daughter and her cousin dressed up, and processing through the backyard with a statue of Mary. I remember dropping everything to look for my phone, so I could take a photo or video, but it was nowhere in sight. So there I stood just watching.

I knew they got the idea from their school, but I was amazed at the attention to detail and work that went into putting their own together, right down to the gathered flowers and blue paper crown they carefully crafted for Mary. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect that day. The flowers were in bloom, and the crystal clear blue sky provided a perfect backdrop for Our Lady. The girls were all smiles as they gazed at their Queen of Heaven and Earth. And I soaked it all in.

It occurred to me, right then and there, that if I had spent the entire time trying to get the perfect shot, I would’ve totally missed out on the unfiltered beauty of the moment. And, most importantly, the opportunity to reflect on why we honor Mary in the first place.

Had I found my phone to capture the one moment that my daughter was honoring Mary without any prompting, I might have clicked a great image. I might have gotten an image that was endearing and beautiful; a picture I would have been proud to share with everyone. But that’s just it. Such a moment should not be about me, or my pride. It should not be about how darling the girls were or how lovely the day was. The moment was best spent focused on Mary. And by not having my camera to distract me, I was able to do just that.

I have since shared with my now 13-year-old daughter just how much joy her May crowning ceremony brought to me as a mom. I even told her about my moment of frustration at the time with not finding my camera to capture it all. Her brilliant response? To “re-create it annually” with her cousin. And now it is a yearly event every May with tea and one of her favorite desserts to honor Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Blue Vanilla cheesecake parfaits

  • 6-8 shooter glasses
  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Blue or violet food coloring
  • Fresh blueberries 
  • Whipped cream topping (store bought or homemade) 

In a medium bowl, mix melted butter, graham cracker crumbs and sugar until combined. Distribute evenly between individual serving glasses. Press down on crumbs to form a crust.

For the filling, beat cream cheese, sugar and heavy cream in a large bowl until smooth (using an electric mixer). Using a rubber spatula, scrape down sides of the bowl. Add lemon zest, vanilla and 1-2 drops of food coloring. Continue to beat until light and creamy. Evenly spoon (or pipe using a piping bag) about ¼ to ½ cup of filling into each serving cup. Cover and place in the fridge for at least one hour. Top with fresh blueberries and whipped cream topping before serving.