Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

In the Fourth Century, St. Ambrose of Milan used a beautiful title for the Blessed Virgin Mary: “Mother of the Church.” This title was officially used by Pope St. Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council.

In 2018, Pope Francis added a new feast to the Roman Calendar to be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost: the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

What does this title mean? What does it mean that Mary is the Mother of the Church? A very good outline can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, par. 963-975. She is united with her Son, the prayer of the Church is devoted to her, and she is the vision of our future.

First, Mary is united with her Son. In fact, Mary’s role in the Church flows from her union with Christ and cannot be separated from it. She brought the Word made flesh into the world through her free cooperation. She provided Jesus with His human body. She was there as He grew. She was present at His first public miracle. She was there at the Passion and at the foot of the Cross, alongside the Redeemer. She was there when they laid Him in the tomb. She was there at His Resurrection, His Ascension, and was in the Upper Room with the Apostles at Pentecost.

By the grace of God, the Virgin Mary is our model of faith and charity. By Mary’s participation in this saving action, she became the new Eve, the new mother of all the living. In the order of grace, she is the mother of each and every person. She is our Advocate and Helper, pointing us always to her holy Son.

Aside from being the mother of every person, this connection is even more perfected in the baptized members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Through the life-giving waters of Baptism, we are entered into union with the Son of God and Son of Mary. And therefore, Mary’s motherhood becomes more perfect in our lives. She is the Mother of the Church.

As Mary herself foretold: “All generations will call me blessed (Lk 1:48).” Devotion to the Blessed Virgin is part of Christian worship. Out of love for the Lord, we honor His and our mother.