Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Homily 5 – Dedication of St. Mary Major

Mother of God and Our Mother

The Council of Ephesus in the year 431 officially affirmed what the Church had always believed, that Mary is rightly called Theotokos or “Mother of God.” There was great celebration in the city of Ephesus and in Rome a certain nobleman decided to give his entire estate to the building of a grand church in honor of the Mother of God. When deciding where to build the church, it was revealed in a vision that the church should be built on the hill where snow would fall on the following day, August 5th. Despite being the middle of summer, the following day found the Esquiline hill covered in snow and the Basilica of St. Mary Major was built on this site. Today’s feast is thus also known as Our Lady of the Snows. Over the centuries the people of Rome have come to this church to implore the intercession of Our Lady in times of difficulty. We have no greater intercessor among the saints than the Mother of God, for she is also our mother.

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