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Lifelong Catechesis

Forming Catholic identity across generations
November 23, 2017
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Ordinary Time

For a large part of the liturgical year, we devote ourselves to listening to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects unfolded as we seek God's truth and understanding.

Saint of the Week

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Mary, Mother of Jesus, First Century

The greatest and first among all of our saints and a patron for all of us, Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of his son. Very little is known about Mary outside of the New Testament. By tradition, she was born in Jerusalem, the daughter of Joachim and Anne. Catholics believe in Mary's Immaculate Conception, which means that Mary was born without original sin, the only human so honored by God.

In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, we learn that the angel Gabriel came to Mary and announced that she was to be the mother of Jesus. We further learn about the angel's visit to Joseph; Mary’s journey to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who acknowledged her as the mother of God; and about the birth and early life of Jesus. This is most of what we know about Mary until Jesus began his ministry.

Mary is mentioned from time to time in all of the Gospels. We come to know that she was instrumental in having Jesus perform his first miracle by turning water into wine at Cana. We also know that she was there at Jesus' crucifixion, and present with the disciples in Jerusalem before Pentecost. It is believed that she was also present with the apostles after Jesus' Resurrection and at the Ascension.

Mary has been the intercessor for all people who call upon her and for many different causes. Over the centuries, her appearance on Earth has often been reported: at Lourdes, Fatima, La Salette, Guadalupe, and Medjagore. There feast days in honor of Mary. By tradition, her birthday is celebrated on September 8. Besides the Solemnity of Mary celebrated on January 1, some of the other feast days for which, at least in part, we honor Mary the Annunciation (March 25), the Visitation (May 31), the Assumption (August 15), the Queenship of Mary (August 22), Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15), Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7), the Immaculate Conception (December 8) and Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12). Under the title of the Immaculate Conception, Mary is the patron of the United States.

Mary's message today: Our greatest saint, Mary did one simple thing. She listened to God's will—that she was to be the mother of Jesus—and she accepted God's will. "Here I am, the servant of the Lord: let it be it done to me according to your word." (Lk 1:38)

  • Have you accepted God’s will in your life? Pray for an understanding of what God is calling you to do?