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Mary, Mother of the Church: New feast for 2018 dating back to Vatican II


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.