MATER ECCLESIAE

O MOST BLESSED VIRGIN MARY MOTHER OF CHRIST AND MOTHER OF THE CHURCH
O Blessed Virgin Mary,
the basic reason why you are Mother of the Church
is that you are the Mother of God
and the associate of Christ in His saving work.
Another reason is that you shine as the model of virtues
for the whole community of the elect.
You exemplified in your own life
the beatitudes preached by your Divine Son.
Hence, you are the perfect model
for the imitation of Christ
on the part of all human beings.
Obtain for us the graces we need
to follow your example.
Teach us to practise the beatitudes proper to our state
and to rejoice in being known as your children
who are members of the Church of God.
Let us work for the unity of the Church,
which your Son desired on earth
and which you now pray for in heaven.
Lead the whole human race
to acknowledge Christ Jesus, the one true Saviour.
Drive from it all the calamities provoked by sin,
and bring it that peace which consists
in truth, justice, liberty and love.
Amen.

After fifty days of joyous celebration, the Easter Season solemnly closes each year with the great feast of Pentecost Sunday. This has been traditionally called the "birthday" of the Church, that day when "all were filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:4) Pentecost occurs ten days after the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Acts of the Apostles tells us that during this time the "apostles were constantly at prayer together, and with them a group of women, including Mary, the mother of Jesus." (Acts 1:14) The Church has traditionally portrayed the Blessed Virgin Mary together with the apostles and disciples who were gathered at that first Pentecost. She is the model of persevering prayer joined in oneness of mind and heart with the first members of the Church.
Mary had been present at the very beginnings of the Church. She was there at the Annunciation when her humble consent in purity of heart allowed the Son of God to take flesh in her virginal womb.

She was also present standing at the foot of the cross as her Son and our Savior redeemed the world as part of God's plan. (Catechism 599-600) There she was appointed to be mother of all those who were brought to life through the death of her only Son. (St. John 19:26-27)
Now, at Pentecost, when the apostolic mission of the Church begins, Mary is present as well. She is the perfect pattern of the church at prayer. "She is invoked as Mother of the Church and the teacher and Queen of the Apostles" wrote Pope Leo XIII (d. 1903) in his September 1895 encyclical, Helper of the People (Adjutricem Populi). Pope John XXIII (d.1963) in an allocution in the Basilica of St. Mary Major on December 6, 1960 spoke of Mary as "Mother of the Church and our most loving Mother." (AAS 53, 1961, 35)
The title, Mother of the Church (Mater Ecclesiae) was first used by Berengaud, bishop of Treves (d. 1125) in his writings. Later authors such as St. Antoninus, Archbishop of Florence (d.1458) and St. Lawrence Justiniani (d.1455) also invited the church to venerate Mary as her Mother.
On November 21, 1964, during the celebration of Mass at the conclusion of the third session of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI (d. 1978) stated, "For the glory of the Blessed Virgin and our own consolation, we proclaim the Most Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church, of the whole people of God, faithful and pastors, and we call her most loving Mother." The Holy Father expressed the hope that this title of Mary, Mother of the church would "lead Christians to honor Mary even more and to call upon her with still greater confidence." He decreed that "from now onward the whole Christian people should give even greater honor to the Mother of God under this most loving title." (AAS 56, 1965, 1015)
Pope John Paul II has frequently used this title from the beginning of his pontificate in 1978 looking toward Mary in the Upper Room praying with the Apostles at Pentecost. "In the birth of the Church, the one to whom we owe the birth of Christ participates in a particular way." (Oss. Rom. June 19, 1979).

photo:Our Lady of Fourvière, France The bell tower of the Chapel of Our Lady was crowned by a statue made in golden bronze to thank God for her motherly protection,The war was raging. The Prussians were threatening to invade the city. The Lyonnais promised to erect a big church dedicated to Mary if Lyons was spared by the war. Construction began in 1872. The church would be consecrated on 16th June 1896 and raised to a basilica on 16th March 1897
NEW MARIAN FEAST DAY
ROME - Pope Francis, whose devotion to Mary is well-known, on Saturday established a new feast for the Catholic Church devoted to Mary as the “Mother of the Church,” to be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost.
The decision was announced in a decree by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, released on Saturday by the Vatican Press Office.
The decree observes that the veneration of Mary as Mother of the Church has ancient roots in Catholic tradition, reaching back to St. Augustine and St. Leo the Great. The title, the document says, is rooted in New Testament accounts about Mary.
“She became the tender Mother of the Church which Christ begot on the cross, handing on the Spirit,” the decree said.
“Christ, in turn, in the beloved disciple, chose all disciples as ministers of his love towards his Mother, entrusting her to them so that they might welcome her with filial affection.”
In 1964, at the close of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Blessed Pope Paul VI formally declared Mary as the “Mother of the Church,” and invited Catholics to invoke Mary’s help under that title.
During the jubilee year of 1975, the Vatican produced a special Mass, called a “votive Mass,” for Mary under the title of Beata Maria Ecclesiæ Matre, or “Blessed Mary Mother of the Church,” and also approved inserting the title into various prayers in honor of Mary.
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