Christmas: A Marian season, too

A small news item from an Italian news service, citing a recent Vatican bulletin, notes some small novelties in the way Christmas liturgies will be celebrated at the Vatican this year.  It makes a point worth reflecting on as we move into the beautiful Christmas season:

The polychrome wooden sculpture of the enthroned Virgin holding the Baby Jesus giving a blessing, for example, will be located before the altar of the confession [the main altar in the Basilica], from Christmas Day until Epiphany.  This will serve to emphasize “that the Christmas season is also a Marian season.”

That is, it is a liturgical season which has a strong Marian element to it. 

We see this reflected not only in Mary’s obviously central role at the Nativity itself, which we celebrate on Christmas, but also in the Feast of the Holy Family on the following Sunday; the Feast of Mary, Mother of God on January 1; and also her attentive presence at the visit of the Magi, which we remember on the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6.

(Note: I’ve seen this news item translated in English elsewhere as saying that the Mary statue will be near St. Peters’ main altar from Christmas to Epiphany, “not only on the feast of the Mother of God.”  But the original [“La scultura lignea policroma che raffigura la Vergine in trono con il Bambino benedicente, ad esempio, sarà collocata accanto all’altare della confessione, dal giorno di Natale fino all’Epifania. Servirà a sottolineare ‘come il tempo natalizio sia un tempo anche mariano’.” ] says more than this.  My translation reflects this.)


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