The Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother

The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God is a Holy Day of Obligation. SS. Peter & Paul will have masses will be at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 31, 2018 and at 9 a.m., Tuesday, January 1, 2019. There will be a 6:30 p.m. mass at St. Joseph, Fayette, Tuesday evening.

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a liturgical celebration observed on January 1st. It is a holy day of obligation for Catholics, meaning that Mass attendance is required (though the Mass obligation is sometimes waived by the bishop for various reasons; when in doubt, check with your parish.)

The use of the word “Solemnity” here is not a statement about Mary’s personality. It is a designation used for certain days within the liturgical (church-based) calendar of the Church. Solemnities are the highest rank of liturgical celebration, higher than feast days or memorials. By celebrating a solemnity dedicated to Mary’s motherhood, the Church highlights the significance of her part in the life of Jesus, and emphasizes that he is both human and divine.

Though New Year’s Day may seem more like a day for football and hangovers than for Mary, there’s a beautiful spiritual significance in celebrating her during the heart of the Christmas season.  Pope Paul VI, in his apostolic exhortation Marialis Cultus (1974), called the Solemnity of Mary “a fitting occasion for renewing adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels (cf.Lk 2:14), and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace.” (From bustedhalo.com)

The feast is a celebration of Mary’s motherhood of Jesus.  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, or sanctioning of God’s plan with her words, “Be it done to me according to thy word”.  Calling Mary “Mother of God” is the highest honor we can give to her.  Just as Christmas honors Jesus as the “Prince of Peace”, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God honors Mary as the “Queen of Peace”.  New Year’s Day is also designated as the “World Day of Peace”, further acknowledging the role of Mary in our hearts and in our world. (from holyfamily.org)