"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

Our Lady, Mother And Queen: “Concerning Mary One Can Never Say Enough”

Santa Maria Maggiore (St Mary Major),
one of the four papal basilicas,
was built by Pope Sixtus III (r. 432-440)
shortly after the Council of Ephesus (431)
agreed to promote the veneration of the
Virgin Mary as the Mother of God.
​The mosaic in the apse of the church,
which has been hailed as the finest in Rome,
depicts the Coronation of the Virgin Mary.
It is the work of Jacopo Torriti and was completed in 1296. 
In the centre of the mosaic Mary shares a throne
with Christ, who solemnly places a jewelled crown
on her head. The scene is set in a roundel with
a star-studded blue background representing
the firmament, with the sun and
the moon beneath their feet.
Credit: Walks In Rome
On November 1, 1950, which is its seventieth anniversary this year, Pope Pius XII defined the Dogma of the Assumption of Mary. The same pontiff had five encyclicals dedicated to Mary, such as the 1954 Ad Caeli Reginam [To the Queen of Heaven], through which he established the feast of the Queenship of Mary. He strongly promoted that Catholic families should pray the rosary together and he confidently entrusted to her the destiny of humanity that was still reeling from atrocities of the Second World War. In 1904, fifty years before Ad Caeli Reginam, St. Pope Pius X, [whose feast we celebrated yesterday] also issued the encyclical Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum [On That Most Happy Day]. These two encyclicals were issued on the one hundredth and fiftieth anniversaries, respectively, when The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary was formally defined a Church Dogma, i.e., its acceptance is a necessary belief of all Catholic faithful.

It is not a coincidence that this feast falls within the octave of the August 15 Solemnity of Mary's Assumption. Both feasts on the fifteenth and twenty-second of the august month are intertwined and are derived from the December 8 Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Though it is just a recent practice in the Church, nevertheless, today's feast of Our Lady, Mother and Queen completes the triptych, which depicts the crowning moment in Mary's life as revealed to us by God across several centuries.

In retrospect, the first petition to the Pope to declare the conception of the Mother of God to be immaculate came in the eighth century, but it waited until 1854 when Pope Pius IX formally defined it a dogma. Stepping back further in time, during the Council of Ephesus in 431, Mary was proclaimed Theotokos, Mother of God. The Fathers designated the Virgin as the “conqueror of all heresies” and upheld the ancient formula De Maria nunquam satis, meaning “concerning Mary one can never say enough.”

In more recent pontificates, St. Pope John Paul II chose a motto dedicated to her: Totus tuus [Maria], and he had an image of the Virgin placed in St. Peter’s Square (The phrase is drawn from the spiritual writings of St. Louis de Montfort). Benedict XVI, like his predecessor, traveled visiting Marian Shrines, e.g., Fatima, Lourdes, Loreto and Aparecida. In 2010, when visiting Fatima, in Portugal, he distinctly said that the “maternity of God,” referring to Mary’s role as Theotokos, is a potent antidote to egoism.

Pope Francis has spoken about how his devotion to Mary helped him throughout his reign. “If I remember well, it was 1985: One evening I went to recite the holy Rosary that was being led by the Holy Father [St. Pope John Paul II]. He was in front of everybody, on his knees,” then the Cardinal Bergoglio recounted. He said further, “The group was numerous; I saw the Holy Father from the back, and, little by little, I got lost in prayer. I was not alone: I was praying in the middle of the people of God to which I and all those there belonged, led by our pastor... I felt that this man, chosen to lead the Church, was following a path back to his Mother in the sky, a path set out from his childhood... I understood the presence of Mary in the life of the pope, a witness he never ceased to give. From that moment, I recite the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary every day.” This time as pontiff, Pope Francis always makes it a point to stop and offer flowers at the feet of Our Lady, e.g., to venerate the famous icon Salus Populi Romani [protectress of the Roman people] at Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, Mater Ecclesiae image placed facing St. Peter's Square or wherever he celebrates Mass during his trips abroad. Fr. JM Manzano, SJ

Prayer to Mary, Queen of Heaven by Venerable Pope Pius XII
From the depths of this vale of tears where sorrowing humanity makes weary progress, through the surges of this sea of ours, endlessly buffeted by the winds of passion, we raise our eyes to you, O most beloved Mother Mary, to be comforted by the contemplation of your glory and to hail you as Queen of heaven and earth, Queen of mankind.

With legitimate filial pride, we wish to exalt your queenship and to recognize it as due to the sovereign excellence of your whole being, O dearest one, truly mother of him who is King by right, by inheritance and by conquest.

Reign, O Mother and Queen, by showing us the path of holiness and by guiding and assisting us that we may never stray from it.

In the heights of heaven you exercise your primacy over the choirs of angels who acclaim you as their sovereign, and over the legions of saints who delight in beholding your dazzling beauty. So, too, reign over the entire human race, above all by opening the path of faith to those who do not yet know your Divine Son.

Reign over the Church, which acknowledges and extols your gentle dominion and has recourse to you as a safe refuge amid the calamities of our day. Reign especially over that part of the Church which is persecuted and oppressed; give it strength to bear adversity, constancy never to yield under unjust compulsion, light to avoid falling into the snares of the enemy, firmness to resist overt attack, and at every moment unwavering faithfulness to your kingdom.

Reign over men’s minds, that they may seek only what is true; over their wills, that they may follow solely what is good; over their hearts, that they may love nothing but what you yourself love.

Reign over individuals and over families, as well as over societies and nations; over the assemblies of the powerful, the counsels of the wise, as over the simple aspirations of the humble.

Reign in the streets and in the squares, in the cities and the villages, in the valleys and in the mountains, in the air, on land and on the sea; and hear the pious prayers of all those who recognize that yours is a reign of mercy, in which every petition is heard, every sorrow comforted, every misfortune relieved, every infirmity healed, and in which, at a gesture from your gentle hands, from death itself there arises smiling life.

Obtain for us that all who now in every corner of the world acclaim and hail you Queen and Lady may one day in heaven enjoy the fullness of your kingdom in the vision of your Divine Son, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, live and reign forever and ever.