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Reverend and dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, prayerful greetings to you in the Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pope Francis has decreed that the ancient devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Mother of the Church, be inserted into the Roman Calendar. The obligatory Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church will be celebrated every year, starting from this year, on Monday after the Pentecost Sunday.

With a decree dated 11th February 2018, the 160th anniversary of the first apparition of Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes, the congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments implements the decision of Pope Francis, requiring that the obligatory Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, be inserted in the General Roman Calendar.

Mary’s mission as the Mother of the Church begins at the foot of the cross when she accepts John as her son and all the believers as her children (cf. Jn 19: 25-27). Lumen Gentium (ch.7) clearly explains about Mary’s presence “in the mystery of Christ and of the Church” Mary plays a significant role in the history of salvation. In promulgating Lumen Gentium on 21st November, 1964, blessed Pope Paul VI wished to confer the title “Mother of the Church” upon Mary.

The faithful, for the past two thousand years have cultivated a filial affection and tender devotion to Mary. The fathers of the church, the saints have reflected a lot on the presence and role of Mary in the mystery of Christ and of the church. St. Therese of Lisieux says that Mary is more a Mother than a queen.

The liturgical commemoration of the ecclesial Motherhood of Mary found a place among the votive masses of the editio altera of the Missale Romanum of 1975. During the pontificate of St. John Paul II, (1980) the title of Mary, Mother of the Church was added in the litany of Loreto.

In Nazareth Mary conceived Jesus in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. And she went with haste carrying the Lord to Elizabeth and John the Baptist (cf. Lk 1:39). Thus Mary is the first one to receive the gospel. And she is the first one to proclaim the gospel. On the day of Pentecost the Apostles, the disciples, the women, with Mary and like Mary devoted themselves to prayer. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to proclaim the gospel.

The mission of the church starts on the day of Pentecost. Evangelization is the vocation proper to the Church. The Church exists in order to evangelize (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14). It is highly significant that the obligatory Memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church is celebrated on Monday after the Pentecost Sunday.

·         With Mary and like Mary, we are called to carry on the noble work of evangelization.

 

·         With Mary and like Mary, the Church in India is called to carry the Lord Jesus to the heart of India and bring India to the feet of Jesus.

·         With Mary and like Mary, Our Mother we need to be kind and compassionate towards all and to concretely express our love and affection, care and concern for all, especially the poor and the marginalized. O Mary, Mother of the Church pray for us.