Oct. 11 - Mary's Maternity, Opening of Vatican II, Year of Faith

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Tomorrow, Oct 11 is an “old Feast” of Mary’s Maternity (not on most calendars); it was the day on which Bl. John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council, with these words, Oct. 11, 1962:

Mother Church rejoices that, by the singular gift of Divine Providence, the longed-for day has finally dawned when – under the auspices of the virgin Mother of God, whose maternal dignity is commemorated on this feast – the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council is being solemnly opened here beside St. Peter’s tomb…

To read the entire address see HERE

For awhile now I have been pondering the very beautiful identification of Mary as not only Mother of God and our Mother given to us by Jesus from His Cross, but also the icon of Mary as Mother Church and our call to be holy as God is Holy. Mary offers a completely human model for as a pershuman person God chose and made perfectly holy. I continue to ponder this beautiful mystery not just as a woman who rejoices in my own role as a mother but as a member of Holy Church. All men, women and children are called to find in Mary their own vocation to become holy as God is Holy. On the 50th Anniversary of Pope John’s visit to Mary’s shrine at Loreto, days before the opening of Vatican II, Pope Emeritus (Benedict XVI) visited the shrine also and spoke these words in his homily there:

On 4 October 1962, Blessed John XXIII came as a pilgrim to this Shrine to entrust to the Virgin Mary the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, due to begin a week later. On that occasion, with deep filial devotion to the Mother of God, he addressed her in these words: “Again today, and in the name of the entire episcopate, I ask you, sweetest Mother, as Help of Bishops, to intercede for me as Bishop of Rome and for all the bishops of the world, to obtain for us the grace to enter the Council Hall of Saint Peter’s Basilica, as the Apostles and the first disciples of Jesus entered the Upper Room: with one heart, one heartbeat of love for Christ and for souls, with one purpose only, to live and to sacrifice ourselves for the salvation of individuals and peoples. Thus, by your maternal intercession, in the years and the centuries to come, may it be said that the grace of God prepared, accompanied and crowned the twenty-first Ecumenical Council, filling all the children of the holy Church with a new fervour, a new impulse to generosity, and a renewed firmness of purpose” (AAS 54 [1962], 727).

Fifty years on, having been called by divine Providence to succeed that unforgettable Pope to the See of Peter, I too have come on pilgrimage to entrust to the Mother of God two important ecclesial initiatives: the Year of Faith, which will begin in a week, on 11 October, on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which I have convened this October with the theme “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”.

To read this homily see HERE

Our Year of Faith proclaimed by the Pope is scheduled to close on the Feast of Christ the King, Nov. 24, 2013. As we remember Mary’s Maternity, the Opening of Vatican II, and the Proclamation of the Year of Faith, there is much to ponder, and for which to pray.

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.
St. Joseph Protector of Mary and the Child Jesus, Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.
Jesus we trust in You.

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