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Ordinary Time: May 29th

Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church; Optional Memorial of St. Paul VI, Pope

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May 29, 2023 (Readings on USCCB website)

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COLLECT PRAYER

Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church: O God, Father of mercies, whose Only Begotten Son, as he hung upon the Cross, chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, his Mother, to be our Mother also, grant, we pray, that with her loving help your Church may be more fruitful day by day and, exulting in the holiness of her children, may draw to her embrace all the families of the peoples. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

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In 2018 Pope Francis decreed that the ancient devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Mother of the Church, be inserted into the Roman Calendar. The liturgical celebration, B. Mariæ Virginis, Ecclesiæ Matris, will be celebrated annually as a Memorial on the day after Pentecost.

From the decree: "This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to 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."

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Today is also the Optional Memorial of Pope St. Paul VI (1897-1978). Paul VI was canonized and added to the General Roman Calendar on January 25, 2019, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Giovanni Battista Montini was born on September 26, 1897, in a village near Brescia Concesio. On May 29, 1920, he was named Archbishop of Milan. He became Pope on June 21, 1963. He presided over the completion of the Second Vatican Council. He died on August 6, 1978.

The Roman Martyrology commemorates St. Ursula Ledóchowska (1865-1939), an Austrian-born religious leader. She became a Roman Catholic nun and founded the Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus (the Gray Ursulines). She is a prominent member of the Ledóchowski family.


Mary, Mother of the Church
St. Paul VI, at the conclusion of the Third Session of the Second Vatican Council in 1964, declared the Blessed Virgin Mary as “Mother of the Church," that is to say of all Christian people, the faithful as well as the pastors, who call her the most loving Mother and established that “the Mother of God should be further honored and invoked by the entire Christian people by this tenderest of titles." But it was not until February 11, 2018, that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments inscribed a new obligatory Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother of the Church, into the General Roman Calendar. This memorial is celebrated every year on the Monday after Pentecost, which is appropriate as Mary was also present in that room for the birthday of the Church. By issuing the Decree on the celebration of the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, Pope Francis wishes to promote this devotion in order to “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety."

The decree reflects on the history of Marian theology in the Church’s liturgical tradition and the writings of the Church Fathers. It says Saint Augustine and Pope Saint Leo the Great both reflected on the Virgin Mary’s importance in the mystery of Christ.

“In fact the former [St. Augustine] says that Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while the latter [St. Leo the Great] says that the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church.”

The decree says these reflections are a result of the “divine motherhood of Mary and from her intimate union in the work of the Redeemer."

Scripture, the decree says, depicts Mary at the foot of the Cross (cf. Jn 19:25). There she became the Mother of the Church when she “accepted her Son’s testament of love and welcomed all people in the person of the beloved disciple as sons and daughters to be reborn unto life eternal.”

In 1964, the decree says, Pope Paul VI “declared the Blessed Virgin Mary as ‘Mother of the Church, that is to say of all Christian people, the faithful as well as the pastors, who call her the most loving Mother’ and established that 'the Mother of God should be further honoured and invoked by the entire Christian people by this tenderest of titles.’”

Highlights and Things to Do:


St. Bernadine
Bernardine was born in Carrara, Italy, in 1380. Even as a boy he nursed the sick during a time of pestilence in Siena. During a severe illness he decided upon entering a monastery and becoming a Franciscan. His superiors assigned him the task of preaching, and he submitted humbly despite a throat affliction. God heard his petition, and the ailment was miraculously cured.

A powerful and eloquent preacher (Pius II called him "a second Paul") and a zealous apostle, Bernardine traveled the length and breadth of Italy, inculcating love and reverence toward the holy Name of Jesus. He exerted a powerful influence upon his contemporaries, inaugurating a genuine reformation within the Church. Seldom has a saint had so many and so distinguished followers (including St. John Capistran). Upon entering a city, Bernardine had a standard carried before him upon which was the holy Name of Jesus (IHS) encircled with twelve golden rays and surmounted by a cross.

When he preached, this symbol was placed alongside the pulpit; or he would hold in his hand a tablet bearing the divine monogram in letters large enough to be visible to the entire audience. It was also his zealous appeals that induced many priests to put the Name of Jesus on the altars and walls of their churches, or to have little cards with the inscription distributed among the people. At his instigation the public buildings in many cities of Italy were adorned with the monogram suitably enlarged, as can still be seen in Siena. At the Council of Florence St. Bernardine labored strenuously to end the schism (1439).
—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

Symbols and Representation: IHS within a circle of golden rays; open book; pile of vanities in flames;
Often portrayed as: A Franciscan holding a sun upon which the Name of Jesus is inscribed.

Patronage: advertisers; advertising; against hoarseness; communications; compulsive or uncontrolled gambling; gambling addicts; lungs; public relations; chest, respiratory, or lung problems; Aquila, Italy; diocese of San Bernardino, California; Italy;

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St. Lydia
Saint Lydia was born during the first century in Thyatira, a town famous for its dye works in Asia Minor, famous for its dye works, (hence, her name which means purple seller). She was a seller of purple dye and was St. Paul's first convert at Philippi. The following is from the Acts of the Apostles:

And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, did hear: whose heart the Lord opened to attend to those things which were said by Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying: If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us (Acts 16:14-15).

She was baptized with her household. Thereafter, Paul made his home with her while in Philippi.

Lydia was a woman of hospitality, a woman of faith. As a successful businesswoman, she most likely had a home spacious enough to welcome guests and to use her home as a Christian center, where others would gather for the Holy Mass and prayer. After Paul and Silas were released from prison, they went immediately to Lydia’s house to see and encourage the believers gathered there. Lydia served the Lord through her gift of hospitality by welcoming others into her home.
—Excerpted from Catholic Fire

Highlights and Things to Do:


Monday after Pentecost
Station with San Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in Chains):

In spirit we are today in the Basilica in which are preserved the blessed chains worn by St. Peter because, true to his Pentecostal mission, he had proclaimed the glad tidings of redemption. Hail venerable chains! (Msgr Martin Hellriegel).
This church was one of the tituli, Rome's first parish churches, known as the Titulus Eudoxiae or the Eudoxiana. It was built over the ruins of an Imperial villa in 442 (or possibly 439), to house the chains that had bound St. Peter in prison in Jerusalem.

For more on San Pietro in Vincoli, see:

For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.