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Mother of the Church

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... it is good to observe and celebrate that we are, no matter who or where we are, children of the same mother, just as we are children of the same Heavenly Father.

Jaymie Stuart
Wolfe

About 15 years ago, there was a whole lot of talk swirling around the possibility that Pope John Paul II might resign. It was obvious that his health was quickly declining. His speech had become weak and unclear; he could not walk or stand. He was no longer able to serve with the energy or vigor that had characterized his papacy. Nevertheless, we all woke up one morning in October of 2002 to discover that instead of resigning, the Holy Father had decided to add five more mysteries -- the luminous ones -- to the rosary.

God is always doing something new, and that's why the Church does too. The latest announcement from Rome fits the mold flawlessly. Out of the blue, it seems, and beginning this year, the Monday after Pentecost will be observed as a new feast dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Church.

Thanks, Pope Francis! Thank you for helping us to recognize that we all need a mother. Thank you for drawing our attention to the presence of the Mother of God in the Upper Room. Thank you for reminding us that she was there as 120 disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and set ablaze for the mission of the Gospel.

There is so much that unites us as the People of God: the Paschal Mystery, the Scriptures, Mass, and the Eucharist. But it is good to observe and celebrate that we are, no matter who or where we are, children of the same mother, just as we are children of the same Heavenly Father.

I am a member of a parish (or two or three) in the Archdiocese of Boston. This week, I worked as part of the Ave Maria Press team that is headquartered in Notre Dame, Indiana. I spent three evenings in the Berkshires helping out with a parish Lenten mission. And I exchanged a few emails with someone who works at the Vatican's Publishing House in Rome. It was all a very tangible reminder of how vast our Church is. Yet, Mary is mother of the whole Church.

That is because she is the Mother of Christ. The Spirit that fell upon the Church at Pentecost is the same Holy Spirit whose overshadowing power conceived the Son of God in her womb. She is the first and best disciple. She is the caring mother, the correcting mother, the comforting mother we all need. She brought forth Jesus into the world, but she continues to form him in our hearts and birth him in our lives. This is her mission throughout history. It is her loving offer to every believer.

There will be those, I suppose, who ask why in the world we Catholics would need yet another Marian feast. But why shouldn't we celebrate Mary? Why shouldn't we be proud and grateful to be her sons and daughters? Why shouldn't we ask her to mother us now, not only as individual disciples, but as the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church?

Mary, Mother of the Church, guide and accompany us as we seek your Son. Show us how to serve one another in love and mercy. Teach us how to entrust ourselves wholly to God. Help us to give flesh to the Eternal Word in our own lives. Correct us when we stray; uphold us when we falter; comfort us when we fail. Above all, pray that we may be pleasing to your son in all things, and magnify the glory of his name. Amen.

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, she is an author, speaker, and musician, and serves as a senior editor at Ave Maria Press. Find Jaymie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @YouFeedThem.

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