By Christina Hermoso
The Roman Catholic Church marks the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God and World Day of Peace on the first day of every year.
The Holy Father Pope Francis traditionally celebrates a Holy Mass in commemoration of the two significant religious events at 10 a.m. (4 p.m. Manila time) at the Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy.
Church leaders encourage the faithful to offer novena prayers, special devotions, and to recite the Holy Rosary in honor and in celebration of the divine motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Also known as the “Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” the title Mary, Mother of God was accorded the Blessed Mother during the Council of Ephesus in the year 431 to celebrate the fact that Mary, being the mother of Jesus, who is God, was to be called Mother of God. In memory of the event, Pope Sixtus III built in Rome the Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of the four major basilicas of the Catholic faith.
The observance of World Day of Peace is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in the mystery of salvation. “It is meant to exalt the singular divinity which this mystery brings to the Holy Mother, through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of Life,” said Blessed Pope Paul VI who instituted the event in 1967.