Pope Francis began the new year by urging his fellow Catholics to entrust 2024 to the Mother of God, who “knows our needs” and always intercedes to “make grace overflow in our lives.”

The pope made his appeal during Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Jan. 1 for the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. He called upon Catholics to consecrate their lives to Mary, noting that “she will lead us to Jesus, who himself is ‘the fullness of time.’”

“All of us have our shortcomings, our times of loneliness, our inner emptiness that cries out to be filled,” Francis said in his homily. “Who can do that, if not Mary, the mother of fullness?”

Throughout his homily, the pope reflected on Mary’s significance as the Mother of God, a title first attributed to the Blessed Mother at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. in order to underscore the divinity of Christ.

Given Mary’s role as the “means chosen by God” for entering into human history with the birth of Christ, Francis said it is “fitting that the year should open by invoking her.”

“For those words, Mother of God, express the joyful certainty that the Lord, a tiny child in his mama’s arms, has united himself forever to our humanity, to the point that it is no longer only ours, but his as well,” the pope said.