Today the Church celebrates the Memorial of the Presentation of Mary. The cycle of these three Marian feasts: the Birthday of Our Lady (September 8), the Holy Name of Mary (September 12) and her Presentation in the Temple (November 21), parallel with the first three feasts of our Lord in the liturgical cycle: the birth of Christ or Christmas (December 25), the Holy Name of Jesus (January 3), and His Presentation in the Temple (February 2).
Presentation of Mary
"Sacred Scripture contains no text concerning the event commemorated in today's liturgy. For something of a historical background one may consult the apocryphal works, particularly the Protoevangel of St. James (ch. 4:1ff). After an angel had revealed her pregnancy, Anna is said to have vowed her future child Mary to the Lord. Soon after birth the infant was brought to the sacred precincts at which only the best of Israel's daughters were admitted. At the age of three she was transferred to the temple proper (7:2). According to legend, here she was reared like a dove and received her nourishment from the hand of an angel (8:1).
"In the East, where the feast, celebrated since the eighth century, is kept as a public holiday, it bears the name, 'The Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple'. It was introduced at Rome by a Cypriotic legate to the papal court of Avignon in 1371. In 1472, Sixtus IV extended its observance to the whole Church. Abolished by Pius V, it was reintroduced some years later (1585)."
—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.
Highlights and Things to Do:
- Meditate on the mystery of Mary's temporary dwelling in the sanctuary of the Old Covenant as a preparation for the approaching season of Advent.
- Read more about the Presentation of Mary:
- See the Presentation of Mary altar and painting in St. Peter's Basilica.
- Learn more about Mary in the Byzantine Liturgy and say one of the beautiful prayers of the Eastern liturgy in honor of Mary.