Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Feast — Jan. 1

Church — Springfield

The designation “Mother of God” first began to be used by the Church to refer to Mary in the third and fourth centuries.

The title’s Greek form — Theotokos, or God-bearer — was officially confirmed at the Council of Ephesus in 431. It highlights Mary’s role in the Incarnation, when she declares

her “fiat” in response to the angel Gabriel’s invitation. Some theologians have asserted that while Jesus was “first” in God’s mind for humankind’s redemption, Mary was second, chosen from all eternity to be His mother. Celebrated on Jan. 1, this feast is also a day of prayer for world peace.

Throughout Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church (St. Mary’s) in Springfield, its rectory and its parish hall are Marian paintings, statues and rosaries. Parishioners created much of the artwork dis- played. During the Annunciation, Immaculate Conception and the Assumption feast days, the parish offers 40-hour Adoration.

However, sharing the devotion to Mary goes beyond the Springfield community. St. Mary’s is home to a replica of Our Lady of Fatima that travels throughout Vermont in May and October. The statue is given to a family for a week, and members pray the rosary with it until it is passed to the next.

—Originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.