Today as we celebrate Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, Anne O’Brien, our Director of Mission, reads from John’s Gospel (19: 25-34) in which Jesus entrusts his mother, Mary, to the disciple he loved as she stood at the foot of the Cross.Anne notes that in 2018, Pope Francis, whose devotion to Mary is well-known, established a new feast for the Catholic Church devoted to Mary as the “Mother of the Church. This decision was announced in a decree by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, was then inscribed into the General Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost to highlight Mary’s collaboration with the mission of the Church and her unity with the apostles and the other disciples at the birth of the Church. Such a wonderful honour! Our Lady is truly a special woman. As early as the fourth century, St. Ambrose of Milan had regarded Mary as a model of the Church due to her faith, love, and union with Jesus from birth until his death on the cross as we heard in the scripture. In his apostolic letter Credo of the People of God (1968), St Paul VI declares Mary as Mother of the Church, and mother of all Christians: ‘Joined by a close and indissoluble bond to the Virgin and the Mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption, Mary the Mother of the Church, continues in heaven her maternal role with regard to Christ’s members, cooperating with the birth of the divine life in the souls of the redeemed’ (Credo, 15). Anne closes with this prayer: Holy Mary, mother of Jesus, mother of us all, Help us always to find our way home to your Son And to make our home with him in the loving embrace of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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