Mother of God

Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

Happy New Year, everyone! Blessings and Best Wishes to All! Today we Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. It’s a holy day of obligation in the United States. We have recently celebrated one.

So, what is this Solemnity? The title “Mother of God” is a western derivation from the Greek Theotokos, which means “God-bearer”.  On this day, we are reminded of the role that the Blessed Virgin played in the plan of our salvation.  Through the Holy Spirit, God the Father prepared Mary to be the dwelling place where His Son and His Spirit could dwell among men. Christ’s Birth was made possible by Mary’s fiat: “Be it done unto me according to Thy word.”


We celebrated the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary on January 1st, which is the Octave of Christmas.  Only Christmas and Easter enjoy the privilege of an octave, which is an eight day extension of the feast.  We can trace back the honoring of Mary as the Mother of God to the Council of Ephesus in 431.  By the 7th century, Catholics celebrated the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on January 1st.  Then, in the 13th century, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ had come to replace the feast honoring Mary; however in 1751, after a push in Portugal for an official feast day celebrating Mary’s divine maternity, Pope Benedict XIV allowed Portugal’s churches to devote a feast to Mary on the first Sunday in May.

Eventually, the feast extended to other countries. Then, in 1914 Catholics began to observe the feast on October 11.  In 1931, Pope Pius XI extended the feast to the entire church, and in 1974, Pope Paul VI removed the feast of the Circumcision of Christ from the liturgical calendar and replaced it with the feast of the “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God”, bringing Mary’s feast day back to the first day of the year.

Please see here for the full article.

Below is a little reflection from the Society of St. Paul, India

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!


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