Have you heard? There's a new feast day to celebrate.
Pope Francis has asked that we celebrate Mary, Mother of the Church the day after Pentecost, the birthday of the Church.
I love this. Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ and we are the Body of Christ, therefore Mary is our mother, too. Now I know that some of this may seem so weird and overly pious and maybe even wrong. But think about when you were little and you became friends with someone at school. Once you met their mom, went to their house, and had dinner with their family didn't you know your friend so much more? Suddenly you understood things about them that you never would have even noticed just at lunch or recess. And because of that - because of the way their mom talked about when they were a baby, or displayed pictures from their toddlerhood, or called them by a special, family nickname - you were able to love your friend in a deeper, more whole way. So it is with Christ.
This feast day also reminds us of how the Church is our mother. She feeds us with the Eucharist, takes care of us when we are ill, washes us clean with Baptism, clothes us with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit through Confirmation, and brings healing to our brokenness through confession. She teaches us right from wrong, forms us in Scripture, and brings us closer to Christ - just like any good momma would, just like Mary does.
Do you love it now, too? Good. To celebrate this new feast my friend Katie has created the sweetest craft which you can download for free from her website, Look to Him and Be Radiant. She drew Our Lady holding her parish and when you flip it open you find Mary's Immaculate Heart and surrounded by the people of the Church. It's so sweet, so pretty, and is a great way to explain this Marian title to kids (and maybe even adults). You can find the craft here.
Other ideas to celebrate include:
- Pray for your specific parish, your diocese, and the whole Church during night prayers.
- Display a photo of your local parish or the Vatican next to a statue of Mary and a candle.
- Cook a meal for your priest or invite him over for dinner.
- Cook a meal with food from all over the world - curry, refried beans, stir fry, and rice for example
- Pray the World Mission Rosary for the Church all over the world
- Sing a Marian hymn
- Pray a Marian prayer
- Attend daily Mass
- Get ice cream
- Buy or pick flowers and bring them to Mary, placing them near a statue in your home or church
- Do something kind for someone else
- Display an image of Mary in a prominent place in your home
- Read the story of Pentecost and meditate and / or discuss how it must have been for Mary to be there
So those are some of my ideas. If you have an idea please share it with us!
And if you want to learn more about this feast day, listen to the Catholic Stuff you Should Know podcast episode about the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church here.
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!
PS - Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Jennifer Fulwiler's new book, One Beautiful Dream!