Did you notice that this past week we celebrated a new feast of Mary? Well, it was actually new last year but this year it caught my attention.
Last year, on that 160th anniversary of the apparition of Mary at Lourdes, Pope Francis decreed that Mary under the title “Mother of the Church” would be honored each year on the Monday after the Feast of Pentecost.
Of course, we believe that Mary was there at the start of the Church. From Scripture we know that Jesus entrusted the beloved disciple to her at the foot of the cross (John 19:25-27) and in turn we have confidence that Jesus entrusted all people. We also believe that Mary was present when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, and all those gathered with them at Pentecost (Acts 1:14).
This title of “Mother of the Church” was famously bestowed on the Blessed Virgin Mary by Blessed Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council in the document Lumen Gentium. He proclaimed that “she is a mother to us all in the order of grace” (LG, 61). And, the Church continues to honor Mary in this way.
Mary is the Mother of the Church yesterday, today, and tomorrow. She continues to show herself as a mother every time Christians call upon her name in time of need. There are countless stories of graces received from Mary’s intercession. Mary’s example of faith continues to inspire the Church. She is a model for us. Mary cares about the Church universal and for each of us, her children.