Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
On Friday January 1st, the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary as the Mother of God. This is a Holy Day of obligation and a special feast day for our Parish, as St. Mary Parish is named after Mary the Mother of God.
January 1st is the eighth day after the feast of the Nativity and ends the octave of Christmas. It commemorates the day when Jesus was circumcised and formally given his name according to Jewish tradition. The day is considered noteworthy in that it was the first time that Jesus’ blood was spilled, thus the beginning the process of the redemption of mankind. It also is understood to be a demonstration of Jesus’ humanity and of his submission to the Mosaic Law.
In the early days of Christianity, this eighth day, celebrated in honor of the motherhood of Mary, was the first Marian feat day to be officially observed. From the thirteenth or fourteenth century on, while continuing to honor Mary, the focus instead was on the circumcision and the naming of Jesus. But in the 1969 revision of the calendar, the Marian feast was restored, and January 3rd was made the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.
This solemnity is one of the six holy days of obligation observed each year in the United States.
Suggestions to celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
One of the earliest prayers to Mary is from the fourth century. A revised version of this prayer is called the Memorare. Perhaps have children make a copy of this prayer. Encourage everyone in your family to memorize it. (Click here for the Memorare Prayer)
January 1st is recognized also as a day of prayer for world peace. Help children and youth understand that they can work for world peace by beginning with themselves. Encourage them to make a resolution to be kind and considerate to others at home, on the playground, and in the cafeteria.
Have each member of your family choose a favorite image of Mary and explain why that is their favorite image of Mary.
When we celebrate Mary as the Mother of God, we celebrate the privilege of motherhood and family. January 1st id the first day of the year. Perhaps as a family start a family scrapbook of pictures, letters, and memorabilia from family events. Add to the book throughout the year. Perhaps write a prayer to Mary, Mother of God, to help your family this coming year and paste it in the front of the scrapbook.
Work on some activities from the Mary, Mother of God Kit. (Click here for the activity kit)
Work on activities from the Mary, Mother of God lessons. (Click here for the lessons)
Resources from: The Catholic All Year Compendium, by: Kendra Tierney; Saints and Feast Days; Sadlier; Sophia Institute