By Dena Angaran Forret
In 1961, the sanctuary of St. Boniface Church was remodeled. The wood carved statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph were part of the redecorating effort, replacing the large life-like plaster models that had been a part of the church for many years. The Blessed Virgin Mary statue was donated in memory of Irvin, Elisabeth and Thomas Robison. George Robison, a family member, is a life long parishioner of St. Boniface. His sister, Mary Spätz, is a member of St. John’s in Adel. The Saint Joseph statue was donated by the Angelo “Jake” Angaran Jr. family in memory of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Angelo Angaran Sr.
The statue of Mary, both old and new, has been a part of many May Crowning celebrations that to my recollection date back to the 1950s and 1960s. At that time, an eighth grade or high school girl was chosen to crown Mary. She wore a wedding dress and was surrounded by a court of young girls who were also in fancy dresses. Linda Angaran Smith remembers the lilacs and other garden flowers that were freshly picked from family gardens and placed as a gift to Mary. We processed into church with our flowers singing:
Bring flow’rs of the fairest,
Bring flow’rs of the rarest,
From garden and woodland
And hillside and vale;
The young girl, dressed as a bride, would bestow a crown of beautiful flowers on Mary’s head as the congregation sang, “Oh Mary we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May”.
Religious education students were part of these ceremonies. Have you ever heard of a living rosary? Jerel Merical remembers the students gathering around the exterior walls of the old church, each one representing a prayer bead of the rosary – the Our Father, Hail Mary or Glory Be to the Father. When it was his turn, Jerel began his prayer with the congregation joining in.
During Fr. Bob Schoeman’s ministry at St. Boniface, May Crowning was held at the Waukee Centennial Park. Marilyn Lickteig of our parish remembers these celebrations. “I especially loved the May crowning in the park, honoring Mary with the crowning and then the luncheon, with visiting afterwards.” Jan Young of our parish shares: “I also remember the May Crownings at the park. We had potlucks as part of the celebration. I know Lena Angaran crowned the statue of Our Lady one year (below). After we moved to the new church, we held May Crownings for a few years with eighth-grade girls crowning Mary.”