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Mary has been given many titles down the ages. In every age and every church she has been, for many Christians, a sign of hope and an inspiration. Her earliest ‘title’, agreed throughout the church in the first centuries of our faith, before the divisions of East and West, Catholic and Protestant, was Theotokos, which means God-Bearer.

She is the first God-Bearer, bearing for us in time the One who was begotten in eternity, and every Christian after her seeks to become in some small way a God-bearer, one whose ‘yes’ to God means that Christ is made alive and fruitful in the world through our flesh and our daily lives, is born and given to another.

Why Do We Celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary's Birthday? The feasts of saints are traditionally celebrated on the day of their death, because that is the date on which they entered into eternal life. And, indeed, we also celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary's entrance into Heaven on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption. There are only three whose birthdays have traditionally been celebrated by Christians. Jesus, at Christmas; Saint John the Baptist; and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We can see every human birth as a call for new hope in the world. The love of two human beings has joined with God in his creative work. The loving parents have shown hope in a world filled with travail. The new child has the potential to be a channel of God’s love and peace to the world.

This is all true in a magnificent way in Mary. If Jesus is the perfect expression of God’s love, Mary is the foreshadowing of that love. If Jesus has brought the fullness of salvation, Mary is its dawning.

Birthday celebrations bring happiness to the celebrant as well as to family and friends. Next to the birth of Jesus, Mary’s birth offers the greatest possible happiness to the world. Each time we celebrate her birth, we can confidently hope for an increase of peace in our hearts and in the world at large.

Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord,

the gift of heavenly grace,

that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

may bring deeper peace

to those for whom the birth of her Son

was the dawning of salvation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever.

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