Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church


(Rome) Today we celebrate the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. The Memorial of Mary, the Mother of the Church has been included in the Roman Calendar and from now on it will be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost, as stated in the “Ecclesia Mater” decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, dated 11 February 2018, memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes. The aim, the document states, is “to foster the growth of the motherly sense of the Church in Pastors, in religious and in the faithful, as well as in genuine Marian piety.”

The decision was announced in a decree by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The decree observes that the veneration of Mary as Mother of the Church has ancient roots in Catholic tradition, reaching back to St. Augustine and St. Leo the Great. The title, the document says, is rooted in New Testament accounts about Mary.

“She became the tender Mother of the Church which Christ begot on the cross, handing on the Spirit,” the decree said.

“Christ, in turn, in the beloved disciple, chose all disciples as ministers of his love towards his Mother, entrusting her to them so that they might welcome her with filial affection.”

In 1964, at the close of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Blessed Pope Paul VI formally declared Mary as the “Mother of the Church,” and invited Catholics to invoke Mary’s help under that title.

During the jubilee year of 1975, the Vatican produced a special Mass, called a “votive Mass,” for Mary under the title of Beata Maria Ecclesiæ Matre, or “Blessed Mary Mother of the Church,” and also approved inserting the title into various prayers in honor of Mary.

With the new decree, devotion to Mary as Mother of the Church now becomes an approved feast for the universal Church.

“This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed, the Virgin who makes her offering to God,” the decree said.

The liturgical texts, as well as their translations approved by the episcopal conferences, will be published after the confirmation of the Dicastery.