On May 21, the day after Pentecost, Catholics worldwide celebrated the new feast honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, decreed in February by Pope Francis. 

In Los Angeles, Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrated a special Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to commemorate the new feast, concelebrated by the Bishop of Orange Kevin Vann, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph V. Brennan for the San Fernando Region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and several priests of the Archdiocese. 

“Mary is the heart of the Church, the Mother of the family of God,” said Archbishop Gomez during the homily. “The Mother of Jesus still goes with us, sharing our joys and hopes, helping us in all the challenges of our daily life. She still opens her arms to us with tender love, to give us comfort and guidance.”

More than 3,000 attended the Mass at the Cathedral, including 1,300 K-12th grade students, teachers and their chaperones from 22 Catholic School across the Archdiocese attended the Mass, along with hundreds of religious women, Marian devotees and faithful. 

Students and faithful brought written prayer intentions for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cathedral that will be delivered to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City in July during the Archdiocesan pilgrimage with Archbishop Gomez. Representatives from each school that attended the Mass participated in offering flowers to Our Blessed Mother and students from Precious Blood School led the coronation ceremony.

To commemorate the new feast, Archbishop Gomez is offering a special gift through AngelusNews.com, the Archdiocesan weekly news magazine and multimedia website. He is offering a blessed image of our Blessed Mother for every family in the Archdiocese who would like to receive one. 

“There should be an image of Mary in every home, a picture of our mother,” said Archbishop Gomez. “My prayer is that families and individuals will place this image in a prominent place, and when they look at it they will remember to pray and make an act of love to our mother.” 

For more information, please visit http://www.la-archdiocese.org/Pages/Mary-Feast-Day.aspx, and to receive a blessed image of our Blessed Mother, visit http://marian.angelusnews.com/ (English) or http://maria.angelusnews.com/ (Spanish). The images will be distributed through priority mail starting the week of June 4 and we are still accepting image requests. To view the full Mass, visit archla.org/live.

Below is the Archbishop’s homily from today’s Mass.  

Homily — Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church[i]

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 

It is wonderful to see you all here today for this historic celebration, the first memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church.

I am so happy that Pope Francis has given us this new day to remember Mary each year on the Monday after Pentecost.

As we just heard in the Gospel, this was our Lord’s dying wish and his final gift to us.

The words that Jesus spoke as he hung on the cross, he speaks today to you and to me — and to the whole Church. He tells us look into the eyes of Mary, and he says to us:

Behold, your Mother!

Jesus gives us his own Mother — to be our Mother. 

Today we are blessed to reflect on this beautiful gift, which is part of the mystery of God’s plan for our lives. 

When I was a child, my parents taught me and they taught my sisters that we had a mother on earth and also a Mother in heaven. And of course, in Catholic School, I learned the importance of devotion to Mary, our Blessed Mother.

We started every day with prayers to Mary and we tried to pray the Rosary ever day.

I still remember my principal in Catholic school. He used to ask us every day, “Did you bring it with you? Are you using it?” And of course, he was talking about our Rosaries.

I still pray the Rosary every day and I recommend this devotion to you. The Rosary is a beautiful way to show our love for Mary and to center our lives on Jesus, learning to love Jesus as Mary loved Jesus.

It is amazing to think: we are sons and daughters of the Queen of Heaven. The Mother of Jesus loves each one of us as one of her own children.

My brothers and sisters, God has such a great love for us!

In the great story of salvation, the Father sends his only Son to be born of a woman. Jesus comes to us through Mary — and we go to Jesus through Mary. 

She is a part of his mission from the beginning. From the moment she says “yes” to the Angel — and he is conceived beneath her Immaculate Heart, by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

In her love, Mary carried Jesus in her womb. She presented him in the Temple and raised him with St. Joseph in the holy household at Nazareth. 

Mary was there with his apostles when Jesus began his earthly ministry at the wedding feast in Cana. She was among the women who followed him, listening to his teaching and witnessing his miracles. 

When he was betrayed and abandoned, Mary stood by him at the foot of the cross — so that he would not die alone. 

And as we heard in the first reading today, when Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, Mary became the maternal heart of his Church. As we heard: 

All of these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with …  Mary, the mother of Jesus

Mary is still the heart of the Church, the Mother of the family of God. The Mother of Jesus still goes with us, sharing our joys and hopes, helping us in all the challenges of our daily life. She still opens her arms to us with tender love, to give us comfort and guidance. 

In the Gospel today, we heard how the disciple took Mary into his own home. And this is what Jesus wants for you and for me.

Jesus wants you to take Mary into your homes — into your lives and into your hearts. He wants you to love her as a mother. He wants you to feel the love that she has for you. And he wants you to love Mary, as he loved Mary.

My brothers and sisters, this is the meaning of this new feast today:

Behold, your Mother! 

See her as Jesus sees her! Love Mary as your mother! Ask her to be a mother to you and to never leave you! Ask her to intercede for you and help you grow in faith and to do the will of God. 

The saints know that we go to Jesus as he came to us — through Mary. As she helped Jesus to grow, Mary’s mission now is to help us to grow as sons and daughters of God. And she has so much to teach us! 

In honor of this beautiful feast, we are offering a gift to everyone in the family of God here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. We want to give everyone a little image of our Blessed Mother for their homes. 

My prayer is that this little image will help us all to grow in our love for Mary our Mother. There are fliers at the door as you leave Mass today, or please visit AngelusNews.com to sign up and receive one. 

May our Blessed Mother Mary help us today and always to follow her Son and to grow in holiness and love! 

[i]Readings: Acts 1:12–14; Ps 87:1–2, 3; 5, 6–7; John 19:25–34.