Father John Catoir

Father John Catoir

It gives me great pleasure to tell you that I love Mary. I not only love her, but I obey her. I love her because she is the mother of my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. I obey her. As the mother of Jesus, she is a mother with authority. Jesus is bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh and daughter of our Father in heaven. Mary holds a unique place in the heart of Jesus and in mine, too.

I love Mary because she humbly accepted her vocation. We remember her words in Luke 1:38: “May it be done to me according to your word.” She nourished Jesus from his infancy and stood by him at the cross. Jesus honored her with his dying breath, making her the mother of his church.

I love Mary because God chose her to be blessed among women. I love and honor Mary because she helped God with his redemptive plan. He wanted to give us eternal life and Mary complied.

Through Mary, I have learned that God loved us enough to bring us Jesus. He loved us enough to call us his children. He loved us enough to give us spiritual gifts. He loved us enough to save us from our sins. He loved us enough to forgive us when we repent. He loved us enough to comfort us when we grieve. He loved us enough to heal us when we are sick. He loved us enough to strengthen us when we are discouraged. He answered our prayers.

He blessed us with his presence, grants us wisdom, showed us mercy. He made us temples of the Holy Spirit and prepared us for the heavenly kingdom, opened the gates of heaven. All of this I have learned through Mary.


I love Mary and honor her especially on her birthday, which the church has designated as Sept. 8. When I’m alone on her birthday, I join the whole choir of saints and martyrs in heaven and along with Jesus celebrate her big day. I get a cupcake, put a candle on it and sing “Happy Birthday” in union with the angels. (After all, Mary is queen of angels.)

Before I retired from active ministry, I had a party (along with a Mass) for Mary. We sang “Happy Birthday” to Mary, decorated the church, had the children bring flowers to the altar. Then, after Mass, we went to the auditorium for cake and ice cream. We also had a contest for the best drawing of Mary and gave out prizes. The kids loved it.

I was born on Sept. 8 and have been keenly aware of the connection with Mary since I was a child. In fact, my maternal grandmother was also born on that day. She prayed that one of her children would be born on Sept. 8. None was born that day until I came along in the next generation.

Maybe that’s why I feel called by God to light a spark in your heart. In your own way, make it a point of celebrating Mary’s birth. Think of all that you have learned through her and all the spiritual gifts she has brought to your life.