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Pope: the faithful have always been devoted to the Mother of God

Catholic World News - January 02, 2014

In his first homily of 2014, Pope Francis recalled that “Mary has always been present in the hearts, the piety and above all the pilgrimage of faith of the Christian people.”

The title “Mother of God” is “the first and most important title of Our Lady,” he preached. “It refers to a quality, a role which the faith of the Christian people, in its tender and genuine devotion to our heavenly Mother, has understood from the beginning.”

The Pope continued:

We recall that great moment in the history of the ancient Church, the Council of Ephesus, in which the divine motherhood of the Virgin Mary was authoritatively defined. The truth of her divine maternity found an echo in Rome where, a little later, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major was built, the first Marian shrine in Rome and in the entire West, in which the image of the Mother of God – the Theotokos – is venerated under the title of Salus Populi Romani.

It is said that the residents of Ephesus used to gather at the gates of the basilica where the bishops were meeting and shout, “Mother of God!” The faithful, by asking them to officially define this title of Our Lady, showed that they acknowledged her divine motherhood. Theirs was the spontaneous and sincere reaction of children who know their Mother well, for they love her with immense tenderness. But it is more: it is the sensus fidei of the holy People of God which, in its unity, never errs.

“To her let us entrust our journey of faith, the desires of our heart, our needs and the needs of the whole world, especially of those who hunger and thirst for justice and peace, and for God,” he concluded. “Let us then together invoke her, and I invite you to invoke her three times, following the example of those brothers and sisters of Ephesus: Mother of God! Mother of God! Mother of God!”

The Pope’s homily took placed in St. Peter’s Basilica during the celebration of the Holy Mass of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and the 47th World Day of Peace.

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