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The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God: Understanding Its Significance and Observance in 2024
The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God: Understanding Its Significance and Observance in 2024

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, is celebrated every year on January 1 – New Year’s Day, to honor Mary’s role as the mother of Jesus Christ. The day is set aside to reflect on the role of Mary as a model of faith and obedience to God’s will. It also emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ birth and his nature as both divine and human.

In his Apostolic Letter, Marialis Cultus, Pope Paul VI explained: “This celebration, placed on January 1 …is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the “holy Mother…through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life.” It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewing adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels (cf. Lk. 2:14), and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace.”

Typically, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, is a Holy Day of Obligation; however, in 2024, the obligation to attend Mass on this day is abrogated. Although Mass is not required, all faithful may still attend; all are asked to celebrate this important solemnity through prayer.

The Code of Canon Law (1246 § 2) states that an Episcopal Conference “can suppress some of the holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday” along with the required approval of the Apostolic See. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops removed the obligation to attend Mass for several solemnities that fall on Saturday or Monday. The Holy See approved this decree on July 4, 1992.

In 2024, the abrogation of the Holy Day of Obligation applies to the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, on January 1, 2024, and the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which will be celebrated on Monday, December 9, and will not be a Holy Day of Obligation.

So, as we enter the new year, let us ask Mary, Mother of God, to bless us through the gift of Jesus so that He can guide us through the difficult paths of the future and let us prayerfully celebrate this day through prayer and reflection.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.