The leader of Roman Catholicism, Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” observed the feast of “the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God” on New Year’s Day, urging followers to “entrust the new year to Mary.”
“Let us entrust the new year to Mary, Mother of God, so that peace and mercy may grow throughout the world,” he Tweeted on Sunday, generating over 33,000 likes and 11,000 shares.
The feast “coincides with the octave-day of Christmas” on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, and was initially the feast of the Circumcision of Christ until being replaced in 1974 by Pope John VI. The “mother of God” concept, however, can be traced back as early as the Council of Ephesus in 431.
“This celebration, assigned to January 1 in conformity with the ancient liturgy of the city of Rome, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation,” John XI wrote. “It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the ‘holy mother … through whom we were found worthy … to receive the Author of life.’” Pope Francis: Mary is our Mother, who defends us
“It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewed adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels, and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace,” he said. The day is also known as the “World Day of Peace” for this reason.
In addition to Tweeting in observance of the day on Sunday, Bergoglio also delivered a homily before the masses, outlining why he believes it is important to begin a new year in such a manner.
“To celebrate Mary as mother of God and our mother at the beginning of the new year means recalling a certainty that will accompany our days: we are a people with a mother; we are not orphans,” he said. “To begin the year by recalling God’s goodness in the maternal face of Mary, in the maternal face of the Church, in the faces of our own mothers, protects us from the corrosive disease of being ‘spiritual orphans.’” Popes declare Mary a Co-redeemer, co-savior
Bergoglio asserted that Jesus gave Mary to the Church when he died upon the cross, and the Church should therefore invite her into their homes and communities, and “meet her maternal gaze.”
“Together let us all confess this truth,” he instructed, as all stood to their feet. “I invite you to acclaim it three times, standing, like the faithful of Ephesus: Holy Mother of God, Holy Mother of God, Holy Mother of God.”
Bergoglio has made similar declarations throughout his tenure, urging others each Jan. 1 to entrust the year to Mary. Catholic Popes Declare Mary worth of worship