For visitors to Vatican City, all Roman Catholic holidays take on greater significance since they are celebrated in the Holy See and often include a sermon by the sitting Pope himself. But the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on 1 January is especially looked forward to each year.
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This holy day is devoted to remembering the motherhood of Mary in relation to Jesus. There are many other feast days dedicated to Mary as well, so the day is not just a general celebration of Mary but something more specific.
Actually, the original emphasis of the term “Mother of God”, which was adopted at the Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431 was to affirm Christ’s Deity. Mary was merely recognised as the “bearer of God,” meaning that she was the vehicle through whom the Eternal Son entered the world clothed in human flesh.
While most focus on New Year’s celebrations around the world, in The Vatican, 1 January is the occasion for a very special Papal Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica. The Pope gives a sermon on the meaning and significance of the Marian title “Mother of God” according to the faith of the Roman Catholic Church.