PORTLAND---Bishop Robert P. Deeley will celebrate Mass on Tuesday, January 1, at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland in commemoration of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It is a holy day of obligation for Catholics, and Mass listings at Maine churches for both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are now available at: www.portlanddiocese.org/content/solemnity-mary-mother-god.
The honoring of Mary as the Mother of God can be traced back to the Council of Ephesus in 431, when crowds of people marched through the streets shouting: “Praised be the Theotokos!” Theotokos is Greek for “The God bearer.” 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. The solemnity does not only honor Mary, who was chosen among all women throughout history to bear God incarnate, but also honors the Lord, who is fully God and fully human.
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” on the first day of each year. In his apostolic exhortation Marialis Cultus (1974), Pope Paul VI 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, and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace.”
“Mary, Mother of God, carried Jesus to the world,” said Bishop Deeley. “With her unconditional faith, our Blessed Mother saw the love of God in the sorrowful, the ordinary, and the joyful. She who placed her trust in God, saw his glory in everything. She offers a wonderful guide for the new year ahead.”