LOS ANGELES — The archbishop of Los Angeles encouraged Catholics to love the Blessed Virgin Mary as their mother during a Mass commemorating a newly proclaimed Catholic feast day.
“Jesus wants you to take Mary into your homes, into your lives and into your hearts,” Archbishop José Gomez said May 21, during his homily at L.A.’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Pope Francis added the memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church, to the Roman calendar in February. The feast day will be celebrated annually on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday.
Archbishop Gomez challenged Catholics to receive the Blessed Mother into their homes and hearts.
“Love Mary as your mother! Ask her to be a mother to you and to never leave you! Ask her to intercede for you and help you grow in faith and to do the will of God,” he said.
Archbishop Gomez said that “when Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, Mary became the maternal heart of his Church.”
“Mary is still the heart of the Church, the Mother of the family of God. The Mother of Jesus still goes with us, sharing our joys and hopes, helping us in all the challenges of our daily life. She still opens her arms to us with tender love, to give us comfort and guidance.”
More than 3,000 people attended the Mass. Attendees brought to the Mass written prayer intentions, which will be delivered to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City during an archdiocesan pilgrimage in July.
More than 1,300 Catholic school students, teachers and chaperones from 22 of the archdiocese’s schools were in attendance. Representatives from each of the 22 schools offered flowers to the Virgin Mary.
The Mass was concelebrated by Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Brennan of L.A. and several priests of the archdiocese.
In honor of the new feast, an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, blessed by Archbishop Gomez, has been made available to every family in the archdiocese. The gift may be ordered free via AngelusNews.com, the archdiocese’s news site.