Mary, Mother of God is honoured under many titles. The church has often referred to Mary in this way to stress her personal relationship with
each one of us, her children. Pope Francis has recently declared that a new memorial will be celebrated in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It will be devoted to Mary as Mother of the Church and is celebrated today in complementarity with Pentecost, to emphasise the role of Mary with her spouse the
Holy Spirit in the continuing formation of the church as Mother.
What is the meaning of this title and why is it important to honor Mary with the title `Mother of the Church`?
The Meaning and History of the Title
This Marian title, `Mother of the Church,` is relatively new. It was only officially bestowed on the Blessed Virgin Mary by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1964 at the
Second Vatican Council, who invited the faithful to invoke her help under this title. Since then it has grown in popularity.
During the Holy Year of Reconciliation of 1975, the votive Mass of Our Lady, Mother of the Church was proposed and subsequently added to the Roman Missal.
In 1980, Pope Saint John Paul II added the title `Mother of the Church` to the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the great Marian prayer which invokes her
intercession under various titles and is often recited after the Rosary.
In the 1990s, St. John Paul II also founded the Monastery of Mater Ecclesiae (Latin for Mother of the Church) at the Vatican. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI
now resides at this very monastery.