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The First Feast of the New Year - Mary, Mother of God

by aquinasandmore on December 3, 2008


"Celebrate the beginning of a new year by honoring Mary, the Mother of God"


January 1st is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, a Holy Day of Obligation

January 1st is much more than a new calendar page and a day off from work. On this day, the Church remembers and celebrates Mary’s motherhood of Jesus. The celebration of a feast honoring Mary’s maternity of the Divine Jesus Christ dates back as far as the 5th century,  and was celebrated in many cases just before or after Christmas. The feast has been celebrated on different days in the East and West; prior to Vatican II, the Latin Rite Church celebrated the feast of the Maternity of Mary on October 11th.

In 1974, Pope Paul VI restored the feast to being a part of the Christmas season by fixing the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God to January 1st:

"On the Solemnity of the Birth of Christ the Church both adores the Savior and venerates His glorious Mother. On the Epiphany, when she celebrates the universal call to salvation, the Church contemplates the Blessed Virgin, the true Seat of Wisdom and true Mother of the King, who presents to the Wise Men, for their adoration, the Redeemer of all peoples. On the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (the Sunday within the octave of Christmas) the Church meditates with profound reverence upon the holy life led in the house at Nazareth by Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man, Mary His Mother, and Joseph the just man.

In the revised ordering of the Christmas season it seems to us that we should all direct attention towards the restored Solemnity of Mary the holy Mother of God. This celebration, placed on January 1 in conformity with the ancient indication of the liturgy of the City of Rome, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the "holy Mother...through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life."

It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewing adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels, and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace. Because of these considerations and the fact that the octave of Christmas coincides with a day of hope, New Year's Day, we have assigned to it the observance of the World Day of Peace.”

-Pope Paul VI, Marialis Cultus, 1974

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Do you have your 2009 New St. Joseph Sunday Missal yet? Order soon to be sure you get it in time for the beginning of the new year! And don't forget to order your 2009 Guides - Missal Guide, Guide for Christian Prayer, Guide for the Liturgy of the Hours, and Guide for Daytime Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours.

Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus", Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord". In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos). . .  At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: “the Church indeed. . . by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse.”

- Catechism of the Catholic Church 495, 507


Let Us Pray

Ancient Prayer to the Mother of God

It is truly right to bless you, O God-bearing One,
As the ever-Blessed and most-pure Mother of our God.
More honorable than the cherubim,
And by far more glorious than the seraphim;
Who, without corruption, gave birth to God the Word,
O true Mother of God, we magnify you.
Amen.

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