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Scott P. Richert

Start the New Year With Mary, the Mother of God

By January 1, 2014

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During the Twelve Days of Christmas, the Catholic Church celebrates many important feasts, including the feasts of Saint Stephen, the first martyr (December 26), whose martyrdom is recorded in Acts 6-7; Saint John the Apostle (December 27), who wrote the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, as well as three epistles; the Holy Innocents (December 29), the children who were slaughtered at the order of King Herod, when he was trying to kill the Christ Child; and the Holy Family (normally celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas, and on December 30, when Christmas falls on a Sunday).An icon of the Theotokos, the Mother of God. Egg tempera on wood, Central Russia, mid-1800's. (Photo � Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)

None, however, is as important as the feast celebrated on the octave (eighth day) of Christmas, January 1: the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. In fact, the Church regards this feast as so important that it is a Holy Day of Obligation. (See Is January 1 a Holy Day of Obligation? for more details.) On this day, we are reminded of the role that the Blessed Virgin played in the plan of our salvation. Christ's Birth was made possible by Mary's fiat: "Be it done unto me according to Thy word."

One of the earliest titles given by Christians to the Blessed Virgin was Theotokos--"God-bearer." We celebrate her as the Mother of God, because, in bearing Christ, she bore the fullness of the Godhead within her.

As we begin another year, we draw inspiration from the selfless love of the Theotokos, who never hesitated to do the will of God. And we trust in her prayers to God for us, that we might, as the years pass, become more like her.

O Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

(An icon of the Theotokos, the Mother of God. Egg tempera on wood, Central Russia, mid-1800's. Photo © Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)

Prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary:

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January 1, 2008 at 12:20 pm
(1) Michael Sexton says:

I fully understand the importance of Mary in our quest for salvantion and a Holy Day in her honor is most appropriate. But what happened to the Feast of the Circumcision that we used to celebrate on 1 Jan?

December 30, 2009 at 12:29 am
(2) Francess says:

why is Mary Called the Mother of God? and why do we celebrate the birth of christ on 25 December?

January 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm
(3) Russell says:

Didn’t we call January 1st something other than, ” The Soleminity of Mary ” ? I thought it was some other words in order to honor Mary.
Can’t remember . . .

November 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm
(4) Beverly says:

But WHY do we celebrate it on Jan. 1? Why not june 12?

December 6, 2010 at 11:44 am
(5) Lee Cristina says:

Our bulletin states Jan 1 is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation. Should be clarified. Know it certainly was at one time & it was in honor of The Circumcision which made little sense to me. Supposedly what we think of as a circumcision was something else in the old days.

December 6, 2010 at 12:02 pm
(6) Scott P. Richert says:

Lee, January 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation; however, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated on January 1, 2011, because it falls on a Saturday. You can read more about that here:

Is January 1 a Holy Day of Obligation?

Yes, January 1 was also a Holy Day of Obligation back when the Feast of the Circumcision was celebrated on that day. And no, a circumcision was exactly what we think it to be today. The Feast of the Circumcision commemorated the first shedding of Christ’s Blood on behalf of mankind.

December 29, 2010 at 11:30 pm
(7) Gordios says:

In The Orthodox Church, we continue to celebrate “The Feast of The Circumcision of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” on January 1st.


As Scott mentions, it is to commemorate Our Lord’s submission and shedding of blood.

However, there is another reason to commemorate this feast, as it is the eighth day from Nativity, and is the day that Christ The Lord was NAMED “Jesus”.

In fact, we will often refer to it as “Christ’s Name Day”, the greatest name day of all.

January 1, 2011 at 9:54 am
(8) Andrew Caubarreaux says:

It’s good to read your message about Mary and The Celebration of Mary The Mother of God. Thanks for sharing hersharing her faith with us on the first day of the New Year 2011.you might note “faith” is misspelled “fiat” in you post. HAPPY NEW YEAR.

January 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm
(9) Kate says:

Andrew Caubarreaux,

No, he meant “fiat” which is Latin for “let it be done.”

August 2, 2011 at 2:45 pm
(10) JFN says:

What happened to the January 1st Holy Day of Obligation, The Feast of the Circumcision?
Since this was the one accepted January 1st Holyday in the pre-Vatican II Holy Roman Catholic Church as well as the Orthodox churches, its disappearance in the Latin Rite must relate to actions and proclamations of The Second Vatican Council, a/k/a the Great 20th Century Reformation.

August 19, 2011 at 12:12 am
(11) Myron says:

January 1 is the Octave day of Christmas, so it is always celebrated festively. Whether the emphasis is on the circumcision, on the naming of Jesus, or on the maternity of Mary, it doesn’t matter much– what is in a name? These are all aspects of Christmas.

December 31, 2011 at 2:11 am
(12) Christopher says:

Was wondering if attending mass on Saturday evening satisfies this Holy day of obligation, or if one would be required to attend both days. Thank you.

December 31, 2011 at 9:50 am
(13) BostonJeff says:

Attending Mass on Sataurday would fulfill the Obligation providing the Mass was 3:00pm (e.s.t.) or later.

August 16, 2012 at 8:54 am
(14) susan says:

I went to Catholic schools. When I graduated from HS in 1964 – after Vatican II, it was still the Feast of the Circumcision. We were taught it celebrated submission to Hebrew law.

January 1, 2013 at 11:40 am
(15) Jan says:

it’s a wonderful thing that all of these “things”-I.e., issues, don’t affect our salvation.

January 2, 2013 at 10:35 am
(16) Erin Pascal says:

It is a good thing to start the first day of the year in celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May we be reminded of Her obedience to follow the will of God without hesitation and her unyielding faith.

March 23, 2013 at 2:37 am
(17) Lynne says:

Magnificent. I agree.

November 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm
(18) Nat says:

Anyone even stop to consider it might be symbolic?
First day of the new year? Birth of a new year?
Just as mine and your lives began, we would thank our mother; so another year given to us; surely we can thank our Mother most high.

That’s just my interpretation for it – I think it’s fitting.

December 31, 2013 at 10:08 am
(19) Stacey says:

In what century did Catholics begin celebrating Jan.1st as a Holy Day of Obligation? (Regardless of whether it was for Circumcision or Solemnity of Mary)
And when were the non-Sabbath days of obligation established?

December 31, 2013 at 5:03 pm
(20) Lionel DUCROS says:

Je vous souhaite, Cher Scott, ainsi qu’à vos proches, une sainte et heureuse année 2014; que Notre-Dame et Saint Joseph vous accordent toutes leurs bénédictions et leurs lumières, et vous protègent tout au long de cette année nouvelle!

January 1, 2014 at 5:14 am
(21) Malcolm Roberts says:

Why is Mary need be Mother of God when Jesus Christ came in flesh and not God?

Nah —- Mary served merely as a ‘surrogate’ mother to Jesus. In Luke 1: 35 (KJV) it describes how Jesus was to be implanted in Mary’s womb.

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

The text says “that holy thing, ” which seems appropriate.for the pre-existent Jesus called the WORD (a member of the Godhead – John 1; 1) in heaven to exist continuously from eternity (Isaiah 9:6, compare Exodus 3: 14; Micah 5:2) could not have to be terminated for incarnation to take place. It becomes very plainly obvious to the learned scientist (and equally to the diligent bible student) that modern science has well proven technology for a fully fertilized embryo (called a zygote) which can be produced in a fertility clinic and easily inserted into the womb of a woman – called upon to serve as a surrogate mother. This is merely the pathway created by God and now made known to the scientist. Thus Jesus was converted to become a zygote, which in turn both the Holy
Spirit and God the Father (the above text speaks of Him as the “power of the Highest”). Yes, both the Holy Spirit and the Father were involved in the process of implantation of the zygote of Jesus into Mary’s womb. Under such circumstance of biblical truths, there is no such thing to warrant Mary to be the “Mother of God,” Imagine under such dogma of the RCC – Mary becomes also the “Mother of God the Father” too. Most illogical and un-biblical theology, indeed!

It is merely a dogma created by the RCC and may I say rather theologically unacceptable and it’s time this Church either reviews their theology or find many of their faithful followers disillusioned and departing from their midst (as already seen happening in many parts of the globe), as we speak.

January 1, 2014 at 8:01 am
(22) Diane says:

Mary is so awesome and should be honored. She is the daughter of God the Father, spouse of God the Holy Spirit and mother of God the Son. Wow! BLESSED ART THOU AMONG WOMEN ans BLESSED is the fruit of THY WOMB, JESUS! !!

January 1, 2014 at 10:51 pm
(23) Ed says:

Malcolm Roberts,
Mary’s declaration as Mother of God is a response to the 4th century heresy of Nestorianism that labelled Mary the Mother of Christ. The Council of Ephesus in 431 stated that to deny Mary was the mother of God was to deny either that Jesus is God or that Mary was truly his mother. The Catholic bishops of Canada wrote that “Mary as Mother of God preserves the basic truth about the person Jesus Christ as true God and true Man.”
This title also preserves that Jesus was born of a human mother. Since the divine and human natures of Jesus are inseparable, Mary must be the mother of God and the mother of the man Jesus.

Sources: “Catholic & Christan” by Alan Schreck. 2004
Catechism of the Catholic Catechism, 1997

January 7, 2014 at 11:53 pm
(24) Malcolm Roberts says:

(23) Diane says:
Mary is so awesome and should be honored. She is the daughter of God the Father, spouse of God the Holy Spirit and mother of God the Son. Wow! BLESSED ART THOU AMONG WOMEN ans BLESSED is the fruit of THY WOMB, JESUS! !!

Hey Diane:

If what you believe as taught by the RCC is correct,

(i) then how could ‘Mary,’ the postulated Mother of “God the Father,” (as the title of this current thread) be also the ‘daughter’ of “God the Father” – at the same time?

Rather ridiculous – you’d say: right?

(ii) Again, bible reveals this same Mary is the mother of “God the Son,” then how could Mary also be the daughter of “God the Father, as taught you by the RCC” unless of course Mary is both the Mother of “God the Father” is both Mother and daughter of God simultaneously??

See how ludicrous it ALL becomes!

(iii) However that is not the end of the story: Then RCC further taught you that the Holy Spirit is also the “Father” of ‘God the Son’ and is also the spouse of Mary – making both “God Father and Holy Spirit the ‘fathers’ of God the Son.

You’d agree it really gets complicated and real more laughable with the RCC teaching these errors.

The ONLY answer to all these dilemma and complications is in my previous posting, as described above. Please go and read it again and all shall become more clear.

April 2, 2014 at 9:05 pm
(25) ida says:

I’m certainly no “expert” in biblical theory and certainly not trying to assert MY beliefs on others, but this conversation seems crazy! What I’ve learned from my bible is that Mary was chosen by God, the Father (who was and continues to be the Divine Spirit) because of her unwavering faith and purity to bear the Son of God (by the way–the Lord spoke to her and told her the Babe shall be called Jesus). That alone tells me she was definitely an obedient daughter of the Father! Does anybody doubt that Mary was also then Jesus’ mother? And if you continue reading, can you find that there is only ONE name by which we may be saved and have everlasting life, which IS the name of Jesus! I think as humans sometimes we get entangled in the scientifics and politics that we forget that we are not to question the Lord, but keep our trust in him, that he will show each of us the way in our own convictions. And thank God, not only every day, but continue calling upon him throughout each and every day. But I’ve gone off course. I cannot question that Mary was indeed the daughter and the mother of the Lord! Nor do i question that the Holy Spirit, God the Father, and Jesus are all the same entity! Hallelujah!

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