The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

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Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. The Sunday Connection provides useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.


The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

Monday, June 10, 2019


This Sunday's Readings


First Reading
Genesis 3:9–15,20 or Acts 1:12–14
The mother of all the living.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 87:1–2,3 and 5,6–7
Glorious things are told of you, O City of God.

Gospel Reading
John 19:25–34
“Behold your son; Behold your mother.”

Background on the Gospel Reading

On February 11, 2018, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments added a new obligatory memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to the general Roman Calendar. This memorial is celebrated every year on the Monday after Pentecost.

On Pentecost we celebrate the “birthday of the Church,” as it has been called, and the next day we now remember and celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s role as Mother of the Church. The reading designated for this Mass begins with Mary the wife of Clopas, Mary of Magdala, the disciple whom Jesus loved, and his mother, Mary, gathered at the foot of the cross. When Jesus saw his mother, he said to her, “Woman, behold your son,” meaning the disciple standing beside her. Then he said to the disciple, and by extension to all who read these words in faith, “Behold your mother.”  

In this way Jesus establishes a bond between his mother, Mary, and those who have come to believe in Jesus, her son. She is the Mother of the Church—that is, mother to each of us individually and to the Church as a whole. In John’s Gospel account of the Crucifixion, this is Jesus’ final act before he died.


Gospel Reading
John 19:25–34
“Behold your son; Behold your mother.”


Making the Connection (Grades 1, 2, and 3)

Teach younger children that Mary is our mother in heaven and the Mother of our Church.

Materials Needed

copy of the Act of Consecration to Mary for each child:

O my Queen, O my Mother, I love you and give
myself to you. I give to you this day my eyes,
my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole self.
Since I am yours, keep me and guard me as
your child forever.
Amen.

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Invite children to share things that mothers or women who act as mothers do to take care of their children. (Accept reasonable responses.) Ask: Who is Jesus’ mother? (Mary) Say: Today is the day that we honor Mary’s role as the Mother of the Church. Today’s Gospel reading tells us about Jesus’ last minutes before his Death. He speaks to his mother, Mary, and to his beloved disciple. Listen carefully to what he says to them.
  2. Read aloud today’s Gospel reading: John 19:25–34.
  3. Say: When Jesus tells the disciple, “Behold [See], your mother,” he is telling all of us, as his disciples, that Mary is our Mother. Say: Mary is our mother, and she is the Mother of the Church. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We have our mothers on earth, and Mary is our mother in heaven. She cares for us and intercedes for us so that we can be faithful disciples of her Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  4. Distribute copies of the Act of Consecration and review the words with children. Pray the Act of Consecration, inviting children who wish to to pray aloud with you.


Gospel Reading
John 19:25–34
“Behold your son; Behold your mother.”


Making the Connection (Grades 4, 5, and 6)

Young people are aware of, sensitive to, and sometimes even a part of situations of conflict. As we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, our Gospel reminds us that this same Holy Spirit helps us to be agents of God's peace and forgiveness in the world.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask: What does it mean when we say that someone is “like family” or “like a brother or sister” to us? (We are very close to the person; we care deeply for the person; we know him or her well). Say: In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus calls Mary and his disciple to see each other in a new way. Listen carefully to what Jesus says to Mary and the disciple. 
  2. Invite volunteers to read aloud today’s Gospel reading: John 19:25–34.
  3. Say: Even when Jesus is dying on the Cross, he is concerned about the people he loves. Ask: What does he say to Mary? (“Woman, behold, your son.”) What does he say to the disciple? (“Behold your mother.”) Say: Jesus asks them to see each other in a new way. How is he asking them to see each other? (as mother and son, as family)
  4. Say: As Jesus’ disciples, we are called to care for all people. Jesus calls us to see people in a new way—as people we care for as though they were our family. In your heart, take a moment to think about someone in your life that you have not paid much attention to, someone whom you might see in a new way. Think of one thing you might do or say to show care for or interest in that person. 
  5. Close by praying: God, today we honor Mary’s role as the Mother of the Church. She was your faithful disciple, always following your will for her. Please help us follow her example by caring for others as fellow members of our Church or human family. Then pray the Hail Mary.


Gospel Reading
John 19:25–34
“Behold your son; Behold your mother.”


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

As young people grow into adolescence, they understand that our definition of family can extend beyond our family of origin to include others we are close to and even the entire family of God united in Christ. At his Death, Jesus establishes a bond between his mother, Mary, and all of his faithful disciples. Mary is the mother of the Church and a mother to us, as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Materials Needed

  • large sheet of construction paper for every two or three young people; marker for each person, tape.

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Distribute the sheets of paper and markers. Invite pairs or small groups of children to write the word “Family” in a circle in the middle of the sheet. Then have them write words or phrases that describe families. Invite children to consider these questions as they write: What makes a group of people a family? What do family members have in common? Is there anyone you consider to be family even though he or she is not related to you? Why?
  2. Walk around and discuss children’s ideas as they write. Then, display each sheet (perhaps using tape to adhere it to the wall or a whiteboard if possible). Discuss young people’s ideas about family. Say: Family members care for one another and have a shared history and values. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is dying on the Cross. Even in the midst of this suffering, he cares about our relationships. Let’s listen to what he says.
  3. Invite volunteer to read aloud today’s Gospel reading: John 19:25–34.
  4. Ask: What does Jesus say to Mary, his mother? (“Woman, behold, your son.”) To whom is she referring? (his disciple) What does Jesus say to the disciple? (“Behold your mother.”) Ask: What is Jesus saying about the relationship Mary and his disciple are to have after his death? (They are to be close and care for each other as mother and son.) Say: Jesus tells the disciple to see Mary as his mother. As Jesus’ disciples, Mary is a mother to each of us as individuals and the Mother of the Church. Ask: If Mary is the mother to each of us, what might this mean about our relationship to Mary and to one another as members of the Church? (Accept reasonable responses.) 
  5. Say: We are children of God in Christ, brothers and sisters with Mary as our mother. Invite children to look back at their family descriptions. Ask: Which of the qualities you wrote about earlier apply to us as a Church family? Take a marker and circle those that young people mention. Then ask: How might we treat one another differently if we were to extend our definition of family and see one another as family with Mary as our mother? What if we extended that definition to include all people? (Accept reasonable responses.)
  6. Say: Let’s honor the Blessed Virgin Mary on this day that we celebrate her role as Mother of the Church. Close by praying the Hail, Holy Queen.


Gospel Reading
John 19:25–34
“Behold your son; Behold your mother.”


Family Connection

Even as he was dying on the Cross, Jesus wanted us to be in relationship with one another. He commended his mother and his disciple to care for each other as family. By extension, Mary became the mother of each of us and the Mother of the Church.

Gather with your family and read today’s Gospel: John 19:25–34. Talk about ways that parents care for their children and children care for their parents. Discuss what it means to you as a family that we are called as Jesus’ disciples to care for the people who come into our lives as though they are our family. In what specific ways might your family comfort and care for others? How might you welcome new Church members into your extended family? 

On this day that we celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s role as Mother of the Church, ask that she pray for your family as you care for one another and for others and grow together in your faith. Pray the Hail, Holy Queen, which can be found here