Pope St Paul VI declared the Blessed Virgin Mary to be Mother of the Church during the Second Vatican Council, although St Ambrose of Milan was thought to have been the first to use the title.


In his Apostolic Exhortation, Signum Magnum, delivered in 1967, he wrote:


‘We, therefore, associating ourselves with the Evangelists, with the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church, recalled in the dogmatic constitution “Lumen gentium”, full of admiration, contemplate Mary, firm in her faith, ready in her obedience, simple in humility, exulting in praising the Lord, ardent in charity, strong and constant in the fulfilment of her mission to the point of sacrificing herself, in full communion of sentiments with her Son who immolated Himself on the Cross to give men a new life.


Before such splendor of virtue, the first duty of all those who recognize in the Mother of Christ the model of the Church, is to unite themselves to her in giving thanks to the Most High for working great things in Mary for the benefit of all mankind. But this is not enough. It is also the duty of all the faithful to pay as tribute to the most faithful handmaid of the Lord, a veneration of praise, of gratitude and of love because, by a wise and mild divine provision, her free consent and her generous cooperation in the designs of God had, and still have, a great influence in the attainment of human salvation. Therefore every Christian must make St. Anselm’s prayer his own: “Oh, glorious Lady, grant that through you we may deserve to ascend to Jesus, your Son, who through you deigned to descend among us”’.


So although this is a new commemoration, its roots are ancient, and solidly within the identity and mission of the Mother of God. May she present all our needs to the Lord, and may God bless you this day.