Today is the first celebration of the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, since it was added to the Roman Calendar earlier this year. On March 3, 2018, Pope Francis decreed that the Memorial would be added to the General Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost.
The announcement was made in a decree released by the Vatican which stated that Pope Francis made this decision after “having attentively considered how greatly the promotion of this devotion might encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety.”
Giving the Memorial a fixed date is meant to encourage Marian devotion among the faithful. “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,” Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said in the decree.
The decree reflects on the Pope’s decision and the tradition surrounding the devotion to Mary, Mother of the Church. “In some ways this was already present in the mind of the Church from the premonitory words of Saint Augustine and Saint Leo the Great. In fact the former says that Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while the latter says that the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church. These considerations derive from the divine motherhood of Mary and from her intimate union in the work of the Redeemer, which culminated at the hour of the cross,” stated the decree.
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!