Mary, Mother of the Church – Catholicism’s Own Mother’s Day

Mary Mother of the Church, Marge Fenelon

Copyright 2016, Marge Fenelon

On May 21, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates for the first time ever the Memorial of Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

The first time ever!

On March 3, 2018, Pope Francis declared that, henceforward, the Monday after Pentecost Sunday will be celebrated as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. The Memorial will be observed annually and has been added to the General Roman Calendar, the Roman Missal, and the Liturgy of the Hours. The Holy Father’s wishes for this new feast day is that it will foster Marian piety and the maternal sense of the Church.

I had the great honor of chatting about this new feast this morning on Iowa Catholic Radio’s Jon Leonetti in the Morning.  During my interview, I pointed out that the title of Mary as Mother of the Church is not new to Catholicism. It was given to the Blessed Mother by Bl. Pope Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council. What’s new is that it’s now an obligatory memorial (not a Holy Day of Obligation) to be celebrated by the Universal Church.

The reasoning behind the title, in a nutshell, is this: Beyond doubt, Mary is the Mother of Christ. Christ and his Church are one – he is the Head and we are the Body. Therefore, if Mary is Christ’s Mother, she is also Mother of the Church.

That’s us!

You could say that the Monday after Pentecost has become Catholicism’s own Mother’s Day.

Here are three ways you can celebrate:

  • Attend Mass and enjoy the references to our Blessed Mother.
  • Give her flowers.
  • Have a heart-to-heart chat with her, thanking her for saying “yes” to becoming your mother.
  • Perform an act of love in her honor – better yet, many acts of love!
  • Share this incredible day with someone else in your actions, conversations and overall presence
  • Stop to pray today’s Psalm Response in honor of Mary:

Responsorial Psalm PS 87:1-2, 3 AND 5, 6-7

R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
His foundation upon the holy mountains
the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
more than any dwelling of Jacob.

R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.
Glorious things are said of you,
O city of God!
And of Zion they shall say:
“One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD.”

R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled:
“This man was born there.”
And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
“My home is within you.”

R. Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.

This is Catholicism’s own Mother’s Day – celebrate it with joy by wishing your Blessed Mother a Happy Mother’s Day.

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