The meaning of the Celebration
+ On March 3, Pope Francis declared this new memorial be added to the Church’s Universal Calendar, assigning it to the day after Pentecost Sunday.
+ This memorial highlights Mary’s role as Mother of Christ and, therefore, she is also the mother of his Body, the Church.
+ Saint Luke tells us that Mary was with the Apostles on that Pentecost day when the Holy Spirit descended upon them and she was a witness of the early ministry of the Apostles.
+ Pope Francis has observed that he wants to promote devotion to Mary, Mother of the Church, to “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as growth of genuine Marian piety.”
+ Inspired by the Second Vatican Council’s document Lumen Gentium, the title “Mother of the Church” was decreed by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1965.
On May 21, 1996, seven Trappist monks of the monastery of Tibhirine were beheaded by unknown attackers as civil war ravaged the country of Algeria. The story of the monks was celebrated in the film Of Gods and Men. Although they knew that they were targets, the monks chose to stay in their monastery. In January 2018 Pope Francis officially recognized that the monks of Tibhirine and 12 others (a bishop and 11 religious women and men) died as martyrs, clearing the way for their beatification.
“We earnestly implore the protection of the most Blessed Mary, the Mother of Christ and therefore called by us also Mother of the Church. With one voice and with one heart we give thanks and glory to the living and true God, to the one and sovereign God, to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.”—Blessed Pope Paul VI, Address During the Last General Session of the Second Vatican Council
O God, Father of mercies,
whose Only Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross,
chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother,
to be our Mother also,
grant, we pray, that with her loving help
your Church may be more fruitful day by day
and, exulting in the holiness of her children,
may draw to her embrace all the families of the peoples.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.