Categories: General Date: Dec 31, 2017 Title: The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
On January 1, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. This, the highest title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was given to her at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. and is the oldest feast of Mary celebrated by the Catholic Church. In the Canadian Church it is a Holy Day of Obligation, which means that Mass attendance is required.
Also on this date, we celebrate the World Day of Peace. This observation was introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1967 and first observed on January 1, 1968. Each year the Pope issues a message for the World Day of Peace, which has a specific theme chosen by him. The theme of the message for this 510st World Day of Peace is Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace.
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE
51st WORLD DAY OF PEACE
1 JANUARY 2018
Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace
1. Heartfelt good wishes for peace
Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night, is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence. Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. Pope Benedict XVI, my beloved predecessor, spoke of them as “men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.” In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.
In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.
We know that it is not enough to open our hearts to the suffering of others. Much more remains to be done before our brothers and sisters can once again live peacefully in a safe home. Welcoming others requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and goodwill, vigilant and sympathetic attention, the responsible management of new and complex situations that at times compound numerous existing problems, to say nothing of resources, which are always limited. By practising the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate and, “within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good, to permit [them] to become part of a new society.” Leaders have a clear responsibility towards their own communities, whose legitimate rights and harmonious development they must ensure, lest they become like the rash builder who miscalculated and failed to complete the tower he had begun to construct.
Click here to read the full message.