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Veneration of the Holy Mother of God
This excerpt from Chapter V of the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, issued by the Holy See in December 2001, describes the importance of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, in Catholic devotional life, including the Liturgy. This chapter includes reflections on popular devotions to Mary, her feast days, and the Rosary. See also WFF's Rosary page, and Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter on the Rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, issued October 16, 2002, and his 1987 Encyclical, Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer).
Link to the complete document on Vatican web site: DIRECTORY ON POPULAR PIETY AND THE LITURGY
183. Popular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is an important and universal ecclesial phenomenon. Its expressions are multifarious and its motivation very profound, deriving as it does from the People of God's faith in, and love for, Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, and from an awareness of the salvific mission that God entrusted to Mary of Nazareth, because of which she is mother not only of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but also of mankind in the order of grace.
Indeed, "the faithful easily understand the vital link uniting Son and Mother. They realize that the Son is God and that she, the Mother, is also their mother. They intuit the immaculate holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in venerating her as the glorious queen of Heaven, they are absolutely certain that she who is full of mercy intercedes for them. Hence, they confidently have recourse to her patronage. The poorest of the poor feel especially close to her. They know that she, like them, was poor, and greatly suffered in meekness and patience. They can identify with her suffering at the crucifixion and death of her Son, as well as rejoice with her in His resurrection. The faithful joyfully celebrate her feasts, make pilgrimage to her sanctuary, sing hymns in her honor, and make votive offerings to her. They instinctively distrust whoever does not honor her and will not tolerate those who dishonor her"(208).
The Church exhorts all the faithful -- sacred minister, religious and laity -- to develop a personal and community devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the use of approved and recommended pious exercises(209). Liturgical worship, notwithstanding its objective and irreplaceable importance, its exemplary efficacy and normative character, does not in fact exhaust all the expressive possibilities of the People of God for devotion to the Holy Mother of God(210).
184. The relationship between the Liturgy and popular Marian piety should be regulated by the principles and norms already mentioned in this document(211). In relation to Marian devotion, the Liturgy must be the "exemplary form"(212), source of inspiration, constant reference point and ultimate goal of Marian devotion.
185. Here, it will be useful to recall some pronouncements of the Church's Magisterium on Marian devotions. These should always be adhered to when elaboration new pious exercises or in revising those already in use, or simply in activating them in worship(213). The care and attention of the Pastors of the Church for Marian devotions are due to their importance, since they are both a fruit and an expression of Marian piety among the people and the ecclesial community, and a significant means of promoting the "Marian formation" of the faithful, as well as in determining the manner in which the piety of the faithful for the Blessed Virgin Mary is molded.
186. The fundamental principle of the Magisterium with regard to such pious exercises is that they should be derivative from the "one worship which is rightly called Christian, because it efficaciously originates in Christ, finds full expression in Christ, and through Him, in the Holy Spirit leads to the Father"(214). Hence, Marian devotions, in varying degrees and modes, should:
- give expression to the Trinitarian note which characterizes worship of the God revealed in the New Testament, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the pneumatological aspect, since every true form of piety comes from the Spirit and is exercised in the Spirit; the ecclesial character, in virtue of which the faithful are constituted as the holy people of God, gathered in prayer in the Lord's name (cf. Mt 18:20) in the vital Communion of Saints(215);
- have constant recourse to Sacred Scripture, as understood in Sacred Tradition; not overlook the demands of the ecumenical movement in the Church's profession of faith; consider the anthropological aspects of cultic expressions so as to reflect a true concept of man and a valid response to his needs; highlight the eschatological tension which is essential to the Gospel message; make clear missionary responsibility and the duty of bearing witness, which are incumbent on the Lord's disciples(216).
Times of Pious Marian Exercises
Celebration of feasts
187. Practically all Marian devotions and pious exercises are in some way related to the liturgical feasts of the General Calendar of the Roman Rite or of the particular calendars of dioceses and religious families. Sometimes, a particular devotion antedates the institution of the feast (as is the case with the feast of the Holy Rosary), in other instances, the feast is much more ancient than the devotion (as with the Angelus Domini). This clearly illustrates the relationship between the Liturgy and pious exercises, and the manner in which pious exercises find their culmination in the celebration of the feast. In so far as liturgical, the feast refers to the history of salvation and celebrates a particular aspect of the relationship of the Virgin Mary to the mystery of Christ. The feast, however, must be celebrated in accordance with liturgical norm, and bear in mind the hierarchal difference between "liturgical acts" and associated "pious exercises"(217).
It should not be forgotten that a feast of the Blessed Virgin, in so far as it is popular manifestation, also has important anthropological implications that cannot be overlooked.
188. Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These are designated as memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary(218). This memorial derives from carolingian time (ninth century), but the reasons for having chosen Saturday for its observance are unknown(219). While many explanation have been advanced to explain this choice, none is completely satisfactory from the point of view of the history of popular piety(220).
Prescinding from its historical origins, today the memorial rightly emphasizes certain values "to which contemporary spirituality is more sensitive: it is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that great Saturday on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord's resurrection; it is a prelude and introduction to the celebration of Sunday, the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of Christ; it is a sign that the "Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church"(221).
Popular piety is also sensitive to the Saturday memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The statutes of many religious communities and associations of the faithful prescribe that special devotion be paid to the Holy Mother of God on Saturdays, sometimes through specified pious exercises composed precisely for Saturdays(222).
Tridua, Sepinaria, Marian Novenas
189. Since it is a significant moment, a feast day is frequently preceded by a preparatory triduum, septinaria or novena. The "times and modes of popular piety", however, should always correspond to the "times and modes of the Liturgy".
Tridua, septinaria, and novenas can be useful not only for honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary through pious exercises, but also to afford the faithful an adequate vision of the positions she occupies in the mystery of Christ and of the Church, as well as the the role she plays in it.
Pious exercises cannot remain indifferent to the results of biblical and theological research on the Mother of Our Savior. These should become a catechetical means diffusing such information, without however altering their essential nature.
Tridua, septinaria and novenas are truly preparations for the celebration of the various feast days of Our Lady, especially when they encourage the faithful to approach the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist, and to renew their Christian commitment following the example of Mary, the first and most perfect disciple of Christ.
In some countries, the faithful gather for prayer on the 13th of each month, in honor of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima.
190. With regard to the observance of "Marian months", which is widespread in the Latin and Oriental Churches(223), a number of essential points can be mentioned(224).
In the West, the practice of observing months dedicated to the Blessed Virgin emerged from a context in which the Liturgy was not always regarded as the normative form of Christian worship. This caused, and continues to cause, some difficulties at a liturgico-pastoral level that should be carefully examined.
191. In relation to the western custom of observing a "Marian month" during the month of May (or in November in some parts of the Southern hemisphere), it would seem opportune to take into account the demands of the Liturgy, the expectations of the faithful, their maturity in the faith, in an eventual study of the problems deriving from the "Marian months" in the overall pastoral activity of the local Church, as might happen, for example, with any suggestion of abolishing the Marian observances during the month of May.
In many cases, the solution for such problems would seem to lay in harmonizing the content of the "Marian months" with the concomitant season of the Liturgical Year. For example, since the month of May largely corresponds with the fifty days of Easter, the pious exercises practiced at this time could emphasize Our Lady's participation in the Paschal mystery (cf. John 19:25-27), and the Pentecost event (cf, Acts 1:14) with which the Church begins: Our Lady journeys with the Church having shared in the novum of the Resurrection, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The fifty days are also a time for the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation and of the mystagogy. The pious exercises connected with the month of May could easily highlight the earthly role played by the glorified Queen of Heaven, here and now, in the celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist(225).
The directives of Sacrosanctum Concilium on the need to orient the "minds of the faithful ... firstly to the feasts of the Lord, in which, the mysteries of salvation are celebrated during the year"(226), and with which the Blessed Virgin Mary is certainly associated, should be closely followed.
Opportune catechesis should remind the faithful that the weekly Sunday memorial of the Paschal Mystery is "the primordial feast day". Bearing in mind that the four weeks of Advent are an example of a Marian time that has been incorporated harmoniously into the Liturgical Year, the faithful should be assisted in coming to a full appreciation of the numerous references to the Mother of our Savior during this particular period.
Pious Exercises Recommended by the Magisterium
192. This is not the place to reproduce the list of Marian exercises approved by the Magisterium. Some, however, should be mentioned, especially the more important ones, so as to make a few suggestions about their practise and emendation.
Prayerfully Hearing the Word of God
193. The Council's call for the "sacred celebration of the word of God" at significant moments throughout the Liturgical Year(227), can easily find useful application in devotional exercises made in honor of the Mother of the Word Incarnate. This corresponds perfectly with the orientation of Christian piety(228) and reflects the conviction that it is already a worthy way to honour the Blessed Virgin Mary, since it involves acting as she did in relation to the Word of God. She lovingly accepted the Word and treasured it in her heart, meditated on it in her mind and spread it with her lips. She faithfully put it into practice and modeled her life on it(229).
194. "Celebrations of the Word, because of their thematic and structural content, offer many elements of worship which are at the same time genuine expressions of devotion and opportunities for a systematic catechesis on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Experience, however, proves that celebrations of the Word should not assume a predominantly intellectual or didactic character. Through hymns, prayers, and participation of the faithful they should allow for simple and familiar expressions of popular piety which speak directly to the hearts of the faithful"(230).
195. The Angelus Domini is the traditional form used by the faithful to commemorate the holy annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mary. It is used three times daily: at dawn, mid-day and at dusk. It is a recollection of the salvific event in which the Word became flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, through the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the salvific plan of the Father.
The recitation of the Angelus is deeply rooted in the piety of the Christian faithful, and strengthened by the example of the Roman Pontiffs. In some places changed social conditions hinder its recitation, but in many other parts every effort should be made to maintain and promote this pious custom and at least the recitation of three Aves. The Angelus "over the centuries has conserved its value and freshness with its simple structure, biblical character [...] quasi liturgical rhythm by which the various time of the day are sanctified, and by its openness to the Paschal Mystery"(231).
It is therefore "desirable that on some occasions, especially in religious communities, in shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and at meetings or conventions, the Angelus be solemnly recited by singing the Ave Maria, proclaiming the Gospel of the Annunciation"(232) and by the ringing of bells.
196. By disposition of Benedict XIV (April 2, 1742), the Angelus is replaced with the antiphon Regina Coeli during paschaltide. This antiphon, probably dating from the tenth or eleventh century(233), happily conjoins the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word (quem meruisti portare) with the Paschal event (resurrexit sicut dixit). The ecclesial community addresses this antiphon to Mary for the Resurrection of her Son. It adverts to, and depends on, the invitation to joy addressed by Gabriel to the Lord's humble servant who was called to become the Mother of the saving Messiah (Ave, gratia plena).
As with the Angelus, the recitation of the Regina Coeli could sometimes take a solemn form by singing the antiphon and proclaiming the Gospel of the resurrection.
197. The Rosary, or Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the most excellent prayers to the Mother of God(234). Thus, "the Roman Pontiffs have repeatedly exhorted the faithful to the frequent recitation of this biblically inspired prayer which is centred on contemplation of the salvific events of Christ's life, and their close association with the His Virgin Mother. The value and efficacy of this prayer have often been attested by saintly Bishops and those advanced in holiness of life"(235).
The Rosary is essentially a contemplative prayer, which requires "tranquillity of rhythm or even a mental lingering which encourages the faithful to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord's life"(236). Its use is expressly recommended in the formation and spiritual life of clerics and religious(237).
198. The Blessing for Rosary Beads(238) indicates the Church's esteem for the Rosary. This rite emphasises the community nature of the Rosary. In the rite, the blessing of rosary beads is followed by the blessing of those who meditate on the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord so as to "establish a perfect harmony between prayer and life"(239).
As indicated in the Benedictionale, Rosary beads can be blessed publicly, on occasions such as a pilgrimage to a Marian shrine, a feast of Our Lady, especially that of the Holy Rosary, and at the end of the month of October(240).
199. With due regard for the nature of the Rosary, some suggestions can now be made which could make it more proficuous.
On certain occasions, the recitation of the Rosary could be made more solemn in tone "by introducing those Scriptural passages corresponding with the various mysteries, some parts could be sung, roles could be distributed, and by solemnly opening and closing of prayer"(241).
200. Those who recite a third of the Rosary sometimes assign the various mysteries to particular days: joyful (Monday and Thursday), sorrowful (Tuesday and Friday), glorious (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday).
Where this system is rigidly adhere to, conflict can arise between the content of the mysteries and that of the Liturgy of the day: the recitation of the sorrowful mysteries on Christmas day, should it fall on a Friday. In cases such as this it can be reckoned that "the liturgical character of a given day takes precedence over the usual assignment of a mystery of the Rosary to a given day; the Rosary is such that, on particular days, it can appropriately substitute meditation on a mystery so as to harmonize this pious practice with the liturgical season"(242). Hence, the faithful act correctly when, for example, they contemplate the arrival of the three Kings on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, rather than the finding of Jesus in the Temple. Clearly, such substitutions can only take place after much careful thought, adherence to Sacred Scripture and liturgical propriety.
201. The custom of making an insertion in the recitation of the Hail Mary, which is an ancient one that has not completely disappeared, has often been recommended by the Pastors of the Church since it encourages meditation and the concurrence of mind and lips(243).
Insertions of this nature would appear particularly suitable for the repetitive and meditative character of the Rosary. It takes the form of a relative clause following the name of Jesus and refers to the mystery being contemplated. The meditation of the Rosary can be helped by the choice of a short clause of a Scriptural and Liturgical nature, fixed for every decade.
202. "In recommending the value and beauty of the Rosary to the faithful, care should be taken to avoid discrediting other forms of prayer, or of overlooking the existence of a diversity of other Marian chaplets which have also been approved by the Church"(244). It is also important to avoid inculcating a sense of guilt in those who do not habitually recite the Rosary: "The Rosary is an excellent prayer, in regard to which, however, the faithful should feel free to recite it, in virtue of its inherent beauty"(245).
Litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary
203. Litanies are to be found among the prayers to the Blessed Virgin recommended by the Magisterium. These consist in a long series of invocations of Our Lady, which follow in a uniform rhythm, thereby creating a stream of prayer characterized by insistent praise and supplication. The invocations, generally very short, have two parts: the first of praise (Virgo clemens), the other of supplication (Ora pro nobis).
The liturgical books contain two Marian litanies(246): The Litany of Loreto, repeatedly recommended by the Roman Pontiffs; and the Litany for the Coronation of Images of the Blessed Virgin Mary(247), which can be an appropriate substitute for the other litany on certain occasions(248).
From a pastoral perspective, a proliferation of litanies would not seem desirable(249), just as an excessive restriction on them would not take sufficient account of the spiritual riches of some local Churches and religious communities. Hence, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments recommends "taking account of some older and newer formulas used in the local Churches or in religious communities which are notable for their structural rigor and the beauty of their invocations"(250). This exhortation, naturally, applies to the specific authorities in the local Churches or religious communities.
Following the prescription of Leo XIII that the recitation of the Rosary should be concluded by the Litany of Loreto during the month of October, the false impression has arisen among some of the faithful that the Litany is in some way an appendix to the Rosary. The Litanies are independent acts of worship. They are important acts of homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or as processional elements, or form part of a celebration of the Word of God or of other acts of worship.
Consecration and Entrustment to Mary
204. The history of Marian devotion contains many examples of personal or collective acts of "consecration or entrustment to the Blessed Virgin Mary" (oblatio, servitus, commendatio, dedicatio). They are reflected in the prayer manuals and statutes of many associations where the formulas and prayers of consecration, or its remembrance, are used.
The Roman Pontiffs have frequently expressed appriciation for the pious practice of "consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary" and the formulas publicly used by them are well known(251).
Louis Grignon the Montfort is one of the great masters of the spirituality underlying the act of "consecration to Mary". He "proposed to the faithful consecration to Jesus through Mary, as an effective way of living out their baptismal commitment"(252).
Seen in the light of Christ's words (cf. John 19:25-27), the act of consecration is a conscious recognition of the singular role of Mary in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church, of the universal and exemplary importance of her witness to the Gospel, of trust in her intercession, and of the efficacy of her patronage, of the many maternal functions she has, since she is a true mother in the order of grace to each and every one of her children(253).
It should be recalled, however, that the term "consecration" is used here in a broad and non-technical sense: "the expression is use of "consecrating children to Our Lady", by which is intended placing children under her protection and asking her maternal blessing(254) for them". Some suggest the use of the alternative terms "entrustment" or "gift". Liturgical theology and the consequent rigorous use of terminology would suggest reserving the term consecration for those self-offerings which have God as their object, and which are characterized by totality and perpetuity, which are guaranteed by the Church's intervention and have as their basis the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation.
The faithful should be carefully instructed about the practice of consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. While such can give the impression of being a solemn and perpetual act, it is, in reality, only analogously a "consecration to God". It springs from a free, personal, mature, decision taken in relation to the operation of grace and not from a fleeting emotion. It should be expressed in a correct liturgical manner: to the Father, through Christ in the Holy Spirit, imploring the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom we entrust ourselves completely, so as to keep our baptismal commitments and live as her children. The act of consecration should take place outside of the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, since it is a devotional act which cannot be assimilated to the Liturgy. It should also be borne in mind that the act of consecration to Mary differs substantially from other forms of liturgical consecration.
The Brown Scapular and other Scapulars
205. The history of Marian piety also includes "devotion" to various scapulars, the most common of which is devotion to the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Its use is truly universal and, undoubtedly, its is one of those pious practices which the Council described as "recommended by the Magisterium throughout the centuries"(255).
The Scapular of Mount Carmel is a reduced form of the religious habit of the Order of the Friars of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel. Its use is very diffuse and often independent of the life and spirituality of the Carmelite family.
The Scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.
The Scapular is imposed by a special rite of the Church which describes it as "a reminder that in Baptism we have been clothed in Christ, with the assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, solicitous for our conformation to the Word Incarnate, to the praise of the Trinity, we may come to our heavenly home wearing our nuptial garb"(256).
The imposition of the Scapular should be celebrated with "the seriousness of its origins. It should not be improvised. The Scapular should be imposed following a period of preparation during which the faithful are made aware of the nature and ends of the association they are about to join and of the obligations they assume"(257).
206. The faithful like to wear medals bearing effigies of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These are a witness of faith and a sign of veneration of the Holy Mother of God, as well as of trust in her maternal protection.
The Church blesses such objects of Marian devotion in the belief that "they help to remind the faithful of the love of God, and to increase trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary"(258). The Church also points out that devotion to the Mother of Christ also requires "a coherent witness of life"(259).
Among the various medals of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the most diffuse must be the "Miraculous Medal". Its origins go back to the apparitions in 1830 of Our Lady to Saint Catherine Labouré, a humble novice of the Daughters of Charity in Paris. The medal was struck in accordance with the instructions given by Our Lady and has been described as a "Marian microcosm" because of its extraordinary symbolism. It recalls the mystery of Redemption, the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of the Sorrowful Heart of Mary. It signifies the mediatory role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mystery of the Church, the relationship between Heaven and earth, this life and eternal life.
Saint Maximillian Kolbe (+ 1941) and the various movements associated with him, have been especially active in further popularizing the miraculous medal. In 1917 he adopted the miraculous medal as the badge of the "Pious Union of the Militia of the Immaculate Conception" which he founded in Rome while still a young religious of the Conventual Friars Minor.
Like all medals and objects of cult, the Miraculous Medal is never to be regarded as a talisman or lead to any form of blind credulity(260). The promise of Our Lady that "those who were the medal will receive great graces", requires a humble and tenacious commitment to the Christian message, faithful and persevering prayer, and a good Christian life.
The "Akathistos" Hymn
207. In the Byzantine tradition, one of the oldest and most revered expressions of Marian devotion is the hymn "Akathistos" -- meaning the hymn sung while standing. It is a literary and theological masterpiece, encapsulating in the form of a prayer, the universally held Marian belief of the primitive Church. The hymn is inspired by the Scriptures, the doctrine defined by the Councils of Nicea (325), Ephesus (431), and Chalcedon (451), and reflects the Greek fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries. It is solemnly celebrated in the Eastern Liturgy on the Fifth Saturday of Lent. The hymn is also sung on many other liturgical occasions and is recommended for the use of the clergy and faithful.
In recent times the Akathistos has been introduced to some communities in the Latin Rite(261). Some solemn liturgical celebrations of particular ecclesial significance, in the presence of the pope, have also helped to popularize the use of the hymn in Rome(262). This very ancient hymn(263), the mature fruit of the undivided Church's earliest devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, constitutes an appeal and invocation for the unity of Christians under the guidance of the Mother of God: "Such richness of praise, accumulated from the various forms of the great tradition of the Church, could help to ensure that she may once again breath with "both lungs": the East and the West"(264).
208) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular Letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year (3.4.1987), 67.
(209) Cf. LG 67; Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis, 18; Decree Optatam totius, 8; Decree Apostolicam actuositatem, 4; CIC, canons 76, ' 2, 5; 663, '' 2-4; 246 ' 3.
(210) Cf. CCC 971. 2673-2679.
(211) Cf. supra nn. 47-59, 70-75.
(212) Cf. PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, 1; CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular Letter Guidelines an proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year 7; Collectio missarum de beata Maria Virgine, Praenotanda, 9-18.
(213) Cf. PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus,24.
(214) Ibid, Intro..
(215) Cf. ibid., 25-39; CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 8.
(216) Cf. Ibid.,8.
(217) Cf. n. 232.
(218) The Missale Romanum contains diverse formularies for the celebration of Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday mornings during "ordinary time", the use of which is optional. See also the Collectio missarum de beata Maria Virgine, Praenotanda 34-36; and the Liturgia Horarum for Saturdays of "ordinary time" which permits the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturdays.
(219) Cf. ALCUIN, Le sacramentaire grégorien, II, ed. J. DESHUSSES, Editions Universitaires, Fribourg 1988, pp. 25-27 and 45; PL 101, 455-456.
(220) Cf. UMBERTO DE ROMANIS, De vita regulari,II, Cap. XXIV, Quare sabbatum attribuitur Beatae Virgini, Typis A. BEFANI, Romae 1889, pp. 72-75.
(221) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 5.
(222) An example of which is to be found in Felicitacion sabatina a Maria Inmaculada compose by Father Manuel Garcia Navarro, who subsequently entered the Carthusians (+1903).
(223) In the Byzantine rite, the liturgy for the month of August is centred on the solemnity of the Dormition of Our Lady (August 15). Until the twelfth century, it was observed as a "Marian month"; in the Coptic rite the "Marian month" is that of kiahk, corresponding approximately to January-February, and is structured in relation to Christmas. In the West the first indications of a Marian month date from the sixteenth century. By the eighteenth century, the Marian month -- in its modern sense -- is well attested but during this period the pastors of souls concentrate their apostolic efforts -- including Penance and the Eucharist -- not so much on the Liturgy but on pious exercises, which were much favoured by the faithful.
(224) Cf. CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular Letter, Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 64-65.
(225) For comments on the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Sacraments of Christian initiation cf. ibid. 25-31.
(226) SC 108.
(227) Cf. SC 35, 4.
(228) Cf. PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus, 30.
(229) Cf. ibid., 17; Collectio missarum de beata Virginis Mariae, Praenotanda ad lectionarium, 10.
(230) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular Letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 10.
(231) Cf. PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, 41.
(232) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular Letter, Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian year, 61.
(233) The antiphon is found in the twelfth century Antiphonary of the Abbey of San Lupo in Benevento. Cf. R. J. HESBERT (ed.) Corpus Antiphonalium Officii, vol. II, Herder, Roma 1965, pp. XX-XXIV; vol. III, Herder, Roma 1968, p. 440.
(234) Regarding indulgences cf. EI, Aliae concessiones, 17, p. 62. For a commentary on the Ave maria cf. CCC 2676-2677.
(235) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular Letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 62.
(236) PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus, 62.
(237) Cf. CIC, canons 246, ' 3; 276, ' 2,5; 663, ' 4; CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY, Directory for the Ministry and Life of Priests, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 1994, 39.
(238) Cf. RITUALE ROMANUM, de Benedictionibus, Ordo benedictionis coronarum Roasrii, cit., 1183-1207.
(240) Cf. ibid.,1183-1184.
(241) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular Letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 62, a.
(242) Ibid., 62, b.
(243) Cf. SC 90.
(244) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular Letter, Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 62, c.
(245) PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, 55.
(246) The Litany of Loreto was first included in the Rituale Romanum in 1874, as an appendix. Regarding indulgences connected with it cf. EI, Aliae concessiones, 22, p. 68.
(247) Cf. Ordo coronandi imaginem beatae Mariae Virginis, Editio Typica, Typis Polyglotis Vaticanis 1981, n. 41, pp. 27-29.
(248) Cf. CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular Letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 63, c.
(249) Litanies multiplied in the sixteenth century. Often, they were in poor taste and the results of an informed piety. In 1601, Clement VIII had the Holy Office issue Quoniam multi which was intended to curb the excessive and uncontrolled production of litanies. According to the terms of this decree, only the more ancient litanies contained in the Breviary, Missal, Pontifical and Ritual, as well as the Litany of Loreto were approved for the use of the faithful (cf. Magnum Bullarium Romanum, III, Lugduni 1656, p. 1609).
(250) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular Letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 63, d.
(251) See the Atto di affidamento alla Beata Vergine Maria pronounced by John Paul II on Sunday, October 8, 2000, together with the Bishops gathered in Rome for the celebration of the Great Jubilee.
(252) JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter, Redemptoris Mater, 48.
(253) Cf. LG 61; JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter, Redemptoris Mater, 40-44.
(254) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year, 86.
(255) LG 67; cf. PAUL VI Letter to Cardinal Silva Henriquez, Papal Legate to the Marian Congress in Santo Domingo, in AAS 57 (1965) 376-379.
(256) CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP, Circular Letter Guidelines and proposals for the celebration of the Marian Year,88.
(257) RITUALE ROMANUM, De Benedictionibus, Ordo benedictionis et impositionis scapularis, cit., 1213.
(258) RITUALE ROMANUM, De benedicionibus, Ordo benedictionis rerum quae ad pietatem et devotionem exercendam destinatur, cit., 1168.
(260) Cf. LG 67; PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, 38;CCC 2111.
(261) In addition to the Akathistos other prayers deriving from the Oriental traditions have received grants of indulgences: cf. EI Aliae concessiones, 23, pp. 68-69.
(262) The singing of the Akathistos at Santa Maria Maggiore on June 7, 1981 marked the anniversaries of the Councils of Constantinople (381) and Ephesus (431); the hymn was also sung to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the apparitions of Guadalupe in Mexico, December 10-12, 1981. On March 25, 1988, John Paul II presided at Matins in Santa Maria Supra Minerva during which the hymn was sung in the Slavonic Rite. It is again explicitly mentioned among the indulgenced devotions for the Jubilee Year in the Bull Incarnationis Mysterium. It was sung at Santa Maria Maggiore on December 8, 2000 in Greek, Old Slavonic, Hungarian, Roumanian and Arabic at a solemn celebration with the representatives of the Byzantine Catholic Churches at which John Paul II presided.
(263) While its author is unknown, modern scholarship tends to place its composition some time after the Council of Chalcedon. A Latin version was written down around 800 by Christopher, Bishop of Venice, which had enormous influence on the piety of the Western middles age. It is associated with Germanus of Constantinople who died in 733.
(264) JOHN PAUL II, Circular Letter Redemptoris Mater, 34.
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