Devotion to Mary

It's very simple: Mary points us to Jesus!

Jesus loved and honored his mother, and so we, too, love and honor her.

Mary embraces God’s will and freely chooses to cooperate with God’s grace, thereby fulfilling a crucial role in God’s plan of salvation. Throughout the centuries, the Church has turned to the Blessed Virgin in order to come closer to Christ. Many forms of piety toward the Mother of God developed that help bring us closer to her Son. In these devotions to Mary, “while the Mother is honored, the Son, through whom all things have their being and in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, is rightly known, loved and glorified and . . . all His commands are observed.” The Church honors her as the Mother of God, looks to her as a model of perfect discipleship, and asks for her prayers to God on our behalf.

We pray to Mary, but not in the same way we pray to God—and not to worship her as a god.

Prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Seven Sorrows Of The Blessed Virgin Mary

There are four dogmas stating Mary’s personal relationship with God and her role in human salvation.

In current Catholic usage, the term “dogma” means a divinely revealed truth, proclaimed as such by the infallible teaching authority of the Church, and hence binding on all the faithful without exception, now and forever. 

Divine Motherhood

Mary’s divine motherhood was proclaimed at the Council of Ephesus in  431.

Various names are used to describe Mary’s role as mother of Jesus. She is called “Mother of God” which translates the more accurately stated greek term “Theotokos” or “Birthgiver of God.”

The Council of Ephesus (431) attributed to Mary the title, Mother of God. This needs to be read against the Council’s declaration that in Christ there are two natures, one divine and one human, but only one person. Indeed, according to the Council the holy virgin is the Mother of God since she begot according to the flesh the Word of God made flesh. This decision was further explained  by the Council of Chalcedon (451) which says with regard to Mary’s divine motherhood:

“…begotten from the Father before the ages as regards his godhead, and in the last days, the same, because of us and because of our salvation begotten from the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, as regards his manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten…”

Mary’s Divine Motherhood was not the object of an independent or exclusive dogmatic declaration. The statement is embedded in texts defining the person and natures of Jesus Christ. Thus, the dogma of Divine Motherhood becomes an integral part of the christological dogma. This does not diminish its definitive and binding character. The dogma of Divine Motherhood is generally accepted by all Christian denominations.

Immaculate Conception

The solemn definition of Mary’s Immaculate Conception is like Divine Motherhood and Perpetual Virginity part of the christological doctrine, but it was proclaimed as an independent dogma by Pope Pius IX in his Apostolic Constitution “Ineffabilis Deus” (December 8, 1854). Though highlighting a privilege of Mary it in fact stresses the dignity and holiness required to become “Mother of God.” The privilege of the Immaculate Conception is the source and basis for Mary’s all-holiness as Mother of God.

More specifically, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception states “that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege from Almighty God and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, was kept free of every stain of original sin.”

This dogma has both a “negative” and a “positive” meaning which complement each other. The “negative” meaning stresses Mary’s freedom from original sin thanks to the anticipated or retroactive (here called preventive) grace of Christ’s redemptive act. By the same token, the dogma suggests Mary’s all-holiness. This “positive” meaning is the consequence of the absence of original sin. Mary’s life is permanently and intimately related to God, and thus she is the all-holy.

Although difficult to explain, original sin provokes disorderliness in thought and behavior, especially with regard to the primacy of God’s presence in our life. Consequently, in declaring Mary immaculately conceived, the Church sees in Mary one who never denied God the least sign of love. Thus, the dogma declares that from her beginning Mary was exceptionally holy and in constant union with the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit.

Perpetual Virginity

The expression perpetual virginity, ever-virgin, or simply “Mary the Virgin” refers primarily to the conception and birth of Jesus. From the first formulations of faith, especially in baptismal formulas or professions of faith, the Church professed that Jesus Christ was conceived without human seed by the power of the Holy Spirit only. Here lies the decisive meaning of expressions such as “conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary,” “Mary’s virginal conception,” or “virgin birth.” The early baptismal formula (since the 3rd century) state Mary’s virginity without further explaining it, but there is no doubt about its physical meaning. Later statements are more explicit. Mary conceived “without any detriment to her virginity, which remained inviolate even after his birth” (Council of the Lateran, 649).

Although never explicated in detail, the Catholic Church holds as dogma that Mary was and is Virgin before, in and after Christ’s birth. It stresses thus the radical novelty of the Incarnation and Mary’s no less radical and exclusive dedication to her mission as mother of her Son, Jesus Christ. Vatican II reiterated the teaching about Mary, the Ever-Virgin, by stating that Christ’s birth did not diminish Mary’s virginal integrity but sanctified it . The Catechism of the Catholic Church ponders the deeper meaning of the virgin bride and perpetual virginity (499-507). It also maintains that Jesus Christ was Mary’s only child. The so-called “brothers and sisters” are close relations.

The Assumption

This marian dogma was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 on his Encyclical Munificentissimus Deus.

A distinction needs to be made between Ascension and Assumption. Jesus Christ, Son of God and Risen Lord, ascended into heaven, a sign of divine power. Mary, on the contrary, was elevated or assumed into heaven by the power and grace of God.

The dogma states that “Mary, Immaculate Mother of God ever Virgin, after finishing the course of her life on earth, was taken up in body and soul to heavenly glory.” This definition as well as that of the Immaculate Conception makes not only reference to the universal, certain and firm consent of the Magisterium but makes allusion to the concordant belief of the faithful. The Assumption had been a part of the Church’s spiritual and doctrinal patrimony for centuries. It had been part of theological reflection but also of the liturgy and was part of the sense of the faithful.

This dogma has no direct basis in scripture. It was nonetheless declared “divinely revealed,” meaning that it is contained implicitly in divine Revelation. It may be understood as the logical conclusion of Mary’s vocation on earth, and the way she lived her life in union with God and her mission. The assumption may be seen as a consequence of Divine Motherhood. Being through, with, and for her Son on earth, it would seem fitting for Mary to be through, with, and for her Son in heaven, too. She was on earth the generous associate of her Son. The Assumption tells us that this association continues in heaven. Mary is indissolubly linked to her Son on earth and in heaven.

In heaven, Mary’s active involvement in salvation history continues: “Taken up to heaven, she did not lay aside her salvific duty… By her maternal love she cares for the brothers and sisters of her Son who still journey on earth” (LG). Mary is the “eschatological icon of the Church” (CCC 972), meaning the Church contemplates in Mary her own end of times.

The definition of the dogma does not say how the transition from Mary’s earthly state to her heavenly state happened. Did Mary die? Was she assumed to heaven without prior separation of soul and body? The question remains open for discussion. However, the opinion that Mary passed through death as her Son did, has the stronger support in tradition.

Glorified in body and soul, Mary is already in the state that will be ours after the resurrection of the dead.

Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary

From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.

see Ad Caeli Reginam Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary Pope Pius XII – 1954

Mary on the Calendar

January 1      Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God *

January 8      Our Lady of Prompt Succor

February 2     Presentation of the Lord

February 11    Our Lady of Lourdes

March 25       Annunciation

May 13           Our Lady of Fatima

May 31           Visitation

June 27          Our Mother of Perpetual Help

July 16            Our Lady of Mount Carmel

* Holy day of Obligation

August 15       Assumption *

August 22      Queenship of Mary

September 8 Birth of Mary

September 12 The Most Holy Name of Mary

September 15 Our Lady of Sorrows

October 7        Our Lady of the Rosary

November 21  Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

December 8    Immaculate Conception *

December 12   Our Lady of Guadalupe

* Holy day of Obligation

The Month of Mary is May.

Saturday’s are dedicated to Our Lady.

The Month of the Rosary is October.

The First Saturday of each Month is also dedicated to Marian Devotions.

Marian Glossary

ANNUNCIATION: The visit of the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary to inform her that she was to be the mother of the Savior. After giving her consent to God’s word, Mary became the mother of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

ASSUMPTION: The dogma which recognizes the Blessed Virgin Mary’s singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection by which she was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when the course of her earthly life was finished.

HAIL MARY: The prayer known in Latin as the Ave Maria. The first part of the prayer praises God for the gifts he gave to Mary as Mother of the Redeemer; the second part seeks her maternal intercession for the members of the Body of Christ, the Church, of which she is the Mother.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: The dogma proclaimed in Christian Tradition and defined in 1854, that from the first moment of her conception, Mary–by the singular grace of God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ–was preserved immune from original sin.

MAGNIFICAT: The title commonly given to the Latin text and vernacular translation of the Canticle (or Song) of Mary that she recites at the time of the visitation. The canticle begins with “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”

MARY: The mother of Jesus. Because she is the mother of Jesus–Son of God and second Person of the Blessed Trinity–according to the flesh, she is rightly called the Mother of God (Theotokos). Mary is also called “full of grace,” and “Mother of the Church,” and in Christian prayer and devotion, “Our Lady,” the “Blessed Virgin Mary,” and the “New Eve.”

PRESENTATION: The presentation and dedication of Jesus to God by Mary and Joseph in the Temple (Lk 2:22-39), in accord with Mosaic Law concerning the first-born. At the Presentation, Simeon and Anna sum up the expectation of Israel for the long-awaited Messiah, the light of the nations and the glory of Israel, but also as a sign of contradiction. The presentation of the gifts, especially of bread and wine, is a preparatory rite for the liturgy of the Eucharist at Mass.

ROSARY: A prayer in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which repeats the privileged Marian prayer Ave Maria, or Hail Mary, in “decades” of ten prayers, each preceded by the Pater Noster (“Our Father”) and concluded by the Gloria Patri (Glory Be to the Father), accompanied by meditation on the mysteries of Christ’s life. The rosary was developed by medieval piety in the Latin church as a popular substitute for the liturgical prayer of the Hours.

VIRGIN BIRTH: The conception of Jesus in the womb of the Virgin Mary solely by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Church’s confession of faith in the virgin birth affirms that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit without human seed.

VIRGIN MARY: The mother of Jesus, who is honored as “ever-virgin” for her perpetual virginity.

VISITATION: At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would be the mother of the savior. Gabriel also told Mary that her barren cousin, Elizabeth, had conceived a son in her old age. Mary went to visit her cousin and confirmed the truth of the angel’s words. The time she spent with Elizabeth is referred to as “the visitation.”

(from USCCB

Marian Art

Jesus’ mother Mary has inspired more art and music than any other woman in history. Even in the modern age she fascinates the imaginations of men and women of all faiths. In fact, Mary has appeared on the cover of Time, Life, Newsweek, National Geographic, The New York Times and countless other publications.

Life Magazine April14, 2017

Blessed Art Thou Among Women

National Geographic December 11, 2015

The most powerful woman in the world.





Time Magazine December 20, 2004

Mary has been on the cover over 8 times.