Feast of Mary Mother of the Church: ‘Here is your mother’
The celebration of Mary Mother of the Church falls perfectly in line with our Gospel reading from last week where Fr Paul mentions the four appearances of the ‘beloved disciple’ in John’s Gospel.
In this Gospel (John 19: 25-27) the beloved disciple is at the foot of the Cross when Jesus places his mother Mary into his care.
In our normal everyday lives we use honorifics in the English language (such as Mr, Mrs, Ms, Sir, Madam) that indicate respect for the person we are addressing. We do this also in various professions (Doctor, Professor, The Right Honourable) including the church (Fr, Brother, Sister, Your Holiness).
Today we are celebrating the title ‘Mary Mother of the Church’. This honorific was given to Mary and first used in the 4th Century by St Ambrose of Milan but it was not until the 2nd Vatican Council (on 21 November 1964) that Pope Paul VI gave Mary this title officially. Mary is celebrated then, not only, as the Mother of Jesus, but also Mother to us all in the Church.
Today we remember Mary, with honour and respect for her role and her life. In closing Fr Paul asks us to join in praying the Hail Mary:
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death.
Fr Paul also asks ‘How many titles of Mary officially exist?’
While Fr Paul is on leave for a couple of weeks, our Gospel Reflections will continue with Fr Peter Wood, Anne O’Brien and Tony Worner.