Fr Paul greets us this morning with best wishes for a happy and blessed New Year. Today, as we celebrate the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God,  he reads from the Gospel of Luke (2: 16-21) which tells of the shepherds’ visit to the stable in Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

Fr Paul says, as Catholics we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on New Year’s Day because it is a celebration of Mary’s motherhood.  It’s a reminder of the role she played in the salvation of humankind.  Mary was the one chosen by God to bring Jesus into this world and her willingness to do so is a reason to celebrate.  Without her, Jesus would not have been able to come and save us.

This celebration can be traced back to the Council of Ephesus in 431. It changed over the centuries and, in 1974, Pope Paul VI placed this celebration back on the first day of our calendar year.

So, as we begin the New Year, Fr Paul says, we might ask Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us!