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A new feast

A new feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been decreed by Pope Francis at the beginning of his sixth year as Pope. It will be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday each year.

It was announced in a decree by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The veneration of Mary as Mother of the Church has ancient roots in Catholic tradition reaching back to the early Christian churches in Asia Minor with the many frescoes of Our Lady. The document also states that it is already in the New Testament accounts about Mary. When the Angel announced to Mary that she was chosen to be the Mother of the saviour of the world, she was troubled, but her enormous courage enabled her to pronounce her “fiat”, not knowing that her fiat would change the world for ever.

This new feast of Our Lady is very good news for the Congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, and indeed for the whole Family of the Congregation. The Congregation has two patronal feasts which are celebrated every year, namely Pentecost and the 8th December. They can now have a double celebration for the Feast of the Holy Spirit and the Feast of Our Lady, Mother of the Church side by side, and this can have a serious bearing on the development of their spirituality. The celebration of this new feast “from the awaiting of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Mary has never ceased to take motherly care of the pilgrim church on earth.” This celebration will also help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored in the mystery of the Cross, in the oblation of Christ in the eucharistic banquet and to the Mother of the redeemer and Mother of the redeemed, the virgin who makes her offering to God. Cardinal Sarah has said that Mary “from the awaiting of the Spirit at Pentecost, has never ceased to take motherly care of the pilgrim church on earth.”

Another point of good news to share with the whole family refers to England only. Up till the Reformation, England was known as “the Dowry of Mary.” However, with the Protestant Reformation, this ceased to be the case. The reformers did not have much place for Our Lady. However, since Vatican 11, ecumenical development has brought the churches much closer together, and the good news is that the Bishops of England and Wales have decided that England will be re-dedicated as the Dowry of Mary in 2020, and in the meantime there will be a two-year spiritual preparation for this event.

Sr Josephine Egan DHS EIW Province - Published on May 13, 2018


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