Before we are born, our mothers are our entire world; they enfold, nourish, and protect us. When we are born they continue to care for us, by comforting, nursing, and teaching us as we grow. Mothers do not stop being mothers just because we are grown. Our mother will always be our mother.

So it is with our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary. She will always be Jesus' Mother, and she will always be our Mother. And if, for whatever reason, our own birth mother is not quite all we would like her to be, our Blessed Mother stands ready, arms open to take us in. As our Mother, she will continue to nourish, protect, comfort, and teach us as we grow. She can be a part of our families and our lives. Daily prayers that greet and thank her for her love and care, and intercessory prayers that ask for her aid, ensure her place in our families, our homes, and our hearts.

She is the Theotokos (Greek theos, God; kotos, bringing forth), the Queen of the Saints, the humble spouse of the Church, and attentive patron of hundreds. (See CCC no. 495.) It is not surprising that there are So many feast days dedicated, to Mary.

People around the world have embraced some of these feasts as their own—and there are many other, local celebrations—and special traditions and observances are passed on from generation to generation. For example, Portugal pays special attention to the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and Mexico to the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Each of these celebrations includes a period of preparation, special decorations, and a Mass. These should remain at the heart of our celebrations, too.

A three-day period of preparation for such celebrations (a  triduum) is traditional, much like the three-day Easter Triduum, from Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday. Typical observances include a reference to the coming feast in evening prayers, and then some small sacrifice (such as abstaining from meat or sweets) during the three days prior to the feast, so that, when it comes, it is even more festive!

Beyond these bare outlines, let your imagination and your family circumstances be your guide. A procession seems like a good idea? Crowning your statue of Mary with tinsel in January and flowers in August appeals to the children? Why not?

Family Blessing for Marian Feasts

May the Blessed Virgin Mary watch over us and protect us.
Through her, God has given us the author of life, Jesus Christ our Lord.
By her example may we grow closer to Him, who is Lord of all. Amen.