Traditionally the Catholic Church has honored Mary, the mother of Jesus, during the month of May. Some parishes hold May processions—participants sing hymns about Mary, recite the Rosary, and crown a statue of Mary with a wreath of flowers.
Some people believe, mistakenly, that Catholics worship Mary. Worship is reserved to God alone. From the earliest times, however, Christians have sought Mary’s prayers and help. They ask Mary to intercede on their behalf, which is entirely appropriate given Mary’s preeminent role in salvation history.
The Church teaches that Mary is the first and the greatest of all the disciples of Christ. Through her “yes” to the angel, she conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit and truly became the Mother of God. As the Mother of God, it was fitting that she was given the great gift of being preserved from Original Sin. This is called the Immaculate Conception.
Pope Paul VI gave Mary the title of Mother of the Church. Just as Mary prayed with the Apostles and disciples after Jesus’ Death, she continues to pray before God for the Church and all humanity.
The Church honors Mary on various days throughout the liturgical year. In many parts of the world there are popular, local devotions to Mary. Mary in her Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States. This feast is usually celebrated on December 8.
Fact of Faith article was originally published on the For Your Marriage website. Copyright © 2017 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Photo: CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic.