Read: Why venerate Mary as "Mother of the Church" by Father David Fons, Pastor, Saint Mary, Williamston

Today is the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, a feast established in 2018 by Pope Francis to be celebrated every year upon the Monday following Pentecost. Happy Feast Day!

“In this way, the Church specifically recalls Mary's reception of the Holy Spirit with the Apostles at Pentecost, as well as her desire to protect all who come to her Son in His Holy Church,” says Father David Fons, pictured, Pastor of Saint Mary in Williamston.

“The many mysteries of Jesus' life that Mary pondered were brought to full understanding in her heart at Pentecost. As the Church was fully established in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, strengthening the Lord's followers to believe in and to proclaim the Gospel, the Blessed Mother was there as the foremost example of what it means to fully say yes to Jesus.”

Although today’s feast day is new, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of “Mother of the Church” is very ancient. Father Fons, who studied canon law at the Angelicum University in Rome, recalls how one of his favorite places to pray during his time in the Eternal City was the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major.

“Above the altar in the large and very beautiful side chapel is the ancient image of Mary and Child called by the Salus Populi Romani or “Health, or Salvation, of the Roman People”. Here, for almost 1500 years, countless Romans and pilgrims have sought Our Lady’s favor for the wellbeing of the city of Rome and of the whole Church.”

Upon establishing today’s feast in 2018, Pope Francis said he wished to “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety”.

“Our new feast day is an invitation for each of us to receive more from Mary's example of holiness and from the grace of her Son that she offers us,” says Father Fons,

"Let us not be afraid to ask her prayers for ourselves and for the whole Church: O Mary, Mother of Christ, and Mother of the Church, pray for us that we might be made worthy of the promises of your Son!”

May you and your loved ones have a very happy and holy feast day! Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!