Mary, Mother of the Church – 21 May

Mary, Mother of the Church – 21 May

Mary, Mother of the Church – 21 May

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Rome Reports – 17 May 2018

This year marks the first official celebration of the feast day, “Mary, Mother of the Church,” established by Pope Francis. It is a title given to the Blessed Mother that dates all the way back to the Second Vatican Council.

MSGR. ARTHUR ROCHE
Secretary, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
“It is an important feast because really the title, ‘Our Lady, Mother of the Church’ was given by Pope Blessed Paul VI at the end of the Second Vatican Council, reminding people that we had a very great intercessor with us in our Lady; but not only that. From the theological point of view, pointing to the fact that Our Lady is an image of what the Church should be in its perfection.”

The Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments says Pope Francis decreed this feast to particularly remember the Blessed Mother’s maternal role, not only to Jesus, but to the whole Church.

MSGR. ARTHUR ROCHE
Secretary, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
“It’s an encouragement because it shows… women have a great sense of care for other people. Women are wired with it I think in a very special way. I’d say it encourages the care, not only of the child, the physical child, or the physical son or daughter, but also the spiritual development of their children, of incorporating them into the Church, into the Body of Christ, which is an important role in any family.”

Pope Francis decreed this memorial on February 11, 2018, the 160th anniversary of the Marian apparition in Lourdes. Since the dates for Easter and Pentecost change every year, even if this feast falls on another liturgical celebration, this Marian feast will take precedence.

MSGR. ARTHUR ROCHE
Secretary, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
“The Monday celebration immediately after Pentecost is an opportunity for the Church to remember the importance of our Lady helping us too in our prayer, knowing how to pray. Also, helping us to prepare, very specifically for the coming of the Holy Spirit.”

Conveniently, the feast had already been written into the Liturgical Calendar years ago and has prayers designated for the Mass. It has always been a remembrance of her maternal nature toward the Church, but now, the only difference is, it will be obligatory.

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From an allocution by Blessed Paul VI, Pope, at the Second Vatican Council
 The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church  

Meditating on the close relationships between Mary and the Church, for the glory of the Virgin Mary and for our own consolation, we proclaim the Most Blessed Mary Mother of the Church, that is to say of all the people of God, of the faithful as well as of the pastors, who call her the most loving Mother. And we wish that the Mother of God should be still more honoured and invoked by the entire Christian people by this most sweet title.

  Just as, in fact, the divine maternity is the basis for her special relationship with Christ, and for her presence in the economy of salvation brought about by Jesus Christ, thus it also constitutes the principal basis for the relations between Mary and the Church, since she is the mother of Him who, right from the time of His Incarnation in her virginal bosom, joined to Himself as head His Mystical Body which is the Church. Mary, then as mother of Christ, is mother also of all the faithful and of all the pastors.
This is a title, venerable brothers, not new to Christian piety; it is precisely by this title, in preference to all others, that the faithful and the Church address Mary. It truly is part of the genuine substance of devotion to Mary, finding its justification in the very dignity of the Mother of the word Incarnate.
  It is therefore with a soul full of trust and filial love that we raise our glance to her, despite our unworthiness and weakness. She, who has given us in Jesus the fountainhead of grace, will not fail to succour the Church, now flourishing through the abundance of the gifts of the Holy Ghost and setting herself with new zeal to the fulfilment of its mission of salvation.
  And our trust is even more lively and fully corroborated if we consider the very close links between this heavenly Mother of ours and mankind. Although adorned by God with the riches of admirable prerogatives, to make her a worthy Mother of the Word Incarnate, she is nevertheless very close to us. Daughter of Adam, like ourselves, and therefore our sister through ties of nature, she is, however, the creature who was preserved from original sin in view of the merits of the Saviour, and who possesses besides the privileges obtained the personal virtue of a total and exemplary faith, thus deserving the evangelical praise, beata quae credidisti (blessed art thou who believed). In her earthly life, she realised the perfect image of the disciple of Christ, reflected every virtue, and incarnated the evangelical beatitudes proclaimed by Christ. Therefore in her, the entire Church, in its incomparable variety of life and of work, attains the most authentic form of the perfect imitation of Christ.

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