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Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
The Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God is celebrated on Jan. 1. It is a holy day of obligation to attend Mass. This website lists regular Mass times for Catholic parishes in Arkansas. For holy day Mass times, contact a parish directly. Click on the button above to find contact information for a parish near you.
The Blessed Virgin Mary was proclaimed "Theotokos," which comes from the Greek, meaning, "God-bearer," during the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. The Church fathers formalized the teaching, that the one born of Mary was indeed the Son of God, to combat heresies about the true nature of Jesus at the time. The fact that Mary is "Mother of God" is what is celebrated each year on Jan. 1.
In the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, "Lumen Gentium," the title, "Mother of God" appears 13 times in Chapter VIII, which explains that, "The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer."
In another example from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out that Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, specifically called Mary "the mother of my Lord." (no. 495) Because Mary serves in this truly unique role in God's plan for salvation, "the Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother." (Second Vatican Council, 1964)
That said, "Lumen Gentium," goes on to point out that Mary, like all people created by God, "belongs to the offspring of Adam (and) she is one with all those who are to be saved."
In his 2016 homily on this feast day, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor reflects on Mary's motherhood as a model for all of us. "She listened to God with an open heart when Gabriel came to invite her to risk everything in order to do God's will and bring our Savior into the world and then all the other events of Jesus' nativity and childhood. Our text says 'Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.' It is for that reason that she is not only the mother of the Church, she is also the model for all believers."
To learn more about the Church's teachings on Mary, see the catechism, the Marian glossary from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops or visit the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton, Ohio.