The last day of the calendar year is also the Seventh Day of Christmas. On the Eighth Day of Christmas, January 1st, we celebrate the beginning of a new civil year.

The Church asks us on January 1st to focus on the remembrance of Mary the Mother of Jesus, declared at the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431 as the “Theotokos,” literally, “she who gave birth to the One who is God.” Often the term “Theotokos” is translated into English as, “Mother of God.”

Mary’s example of profound humility and acceptance of God’s will in her life, as well as her intercession in Heaven for God’s people on earth, are an important part of Catholic doctrine, tradition and piety.

The prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary are an encouragement in these troubled times, because we never journey alone, but always in the presence of the Holy Trinity and all the saints and angels of God.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.