The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
This is the Marian title proclaimed by Paul VI at the end of the Second Vatican Council on November 21, 1964. By this solemn act, the Pope wanted to affirm « the maternal role exercised by Mary for the Christian people ». Following the Council's request, he wished to promote the « filial piety » of all the members of the Church for the mother of Jesus who was given to us as a mother when Jesus, while on the Cross, said to John: « Behold your mother ».
The perfect disciple of Jesus, and a living incarnation of the Beatitudes Mary is the perfect model of the disciple of the Lord: the disciple who builds up the earthly and temporal city while being a diligent pilgrim towards the heavenly and eternal city; the disciple who works for that justice which sets free the oppressed and for that charity which assists the needy; but above all, the disciple who is the active witness of that love which builds up Christ in people's hearts. (Paul VI, Marialis cultus, n. 37)
Mary, Mother of the Church, is the patroness of our diocese. It has been decided that her feast be celebrated on October 11 in the liturgical calendar of our diocese, even though this date remains a holiday in the universal calendar. A little bit of history can help explain this choice.
In 1931, Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of the « Divine Maternity of Mary » in commemoration of the fifteen hundredth anniversary of the opening of the Council of Ephesus that had declared Mary to be the Mother of God. Pope John XXIII chose this same date to open the Second Vatican Council in 1962, placing the Council under the protection of the Blessed Virgin.
In 1974, when the liturgical calendar of the Universal Church was reorganized, Pope Paul VI moved the feast of the maternity of Mary from October 11 to January 1, under the title «Mary, Mother of God», thus returning to an ancient Roman tradition.
In choosing to celebrate the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church on October 11, our diocese commemorates the opening of the Second Vatican Council, as well as its own foundation during this same Council, on April 27th, 1963. From the very beginning, our diocese has been shaped by the primary orientations of Vatican II which is for us an inalienable treasure and an always active source of life. Beyond all questions of structures or laws, Mary brings us back to the intimate and essential core of the Church, for she is our mother in the order of grace, of our relationship with Jesus, of faith, of hope and of love.