Saint of the Day ~ June 1

BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER of the CHURCH

Today, the universal Church honors our Blessed Mother under the title Mother of the Church.

Mother of the Church (in Latin Mater Ecclesiae) is a title, officially given to Mary during the Second Vatican Council by Pope St. Paul VI. The title was first used in the 4th century by Saint Ambrose of Milan, as rediscovered

Pope Francis inserted the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, into the Roman Calendar on the Monday following Pentecost Sunday.

By issuing the Decree on the celebration of the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, Pope Francis wishes to promote this devotion in order to “…encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety.”

This decree also reflects on the history of Marian theology in the Church’s liturgical tradition and the writings of the Church Fathers. It says Saint Augustine and Pope Saint Leo the Great both reflected on the Virgin Mary’s importance in the mystery of Christ.

The decree further states, “In fact, St. Augustine declared that Mary is the Mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while the St. Leo the Great stated that the Birth of the Head [Christ] is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and Mother of the members of His Mystical Body, which is the Church.”

It further states that Pope St. Paul VI, in 1964, “…declared the Blessed Virgin Mary as ‘Mother of the Church, that is to say of all Christian people, the faithful as well as the pastors, who call her the most loving Mother’ and established that ‘the Mother of God should be further honored and invoked by the entire Christian people by this tenderest of titles.’”

We celebrate this special Memorial of our Blessed Mother on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday.

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Missal for the Blessed Virgin Mary)

“O God, Father of mercies, whose Only Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross, chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, His Mother, to be our Mother also, grant, we pray, that with her loving help your Church may be more fruitful day by day and, exulting in the holiness of her children, may draw to her embrace all the families of the peoples.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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