Mary, Mother of the Church

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In March 2018, Pope Francis decreed that “the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church” be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost every year in churches throughout the world. Honoring Mary on the day after Pentecost highlights that she was present with the disciples on Pentecost, praying with them as the Holy Spirit descended — and she has never ceased to take maternal care of the pilgrim Church on earth. Mary, the first disciple of Jesus, is a model for all Christians. We are reminded that while the Spirit gives us gifts, the Blessed Mother points us to Jesus so that we might use those gifts at the service of Him and His Church.

In 2019, the Diocese of San Diego’s Office for Ethnic and Intercultural Communities commissioned the creation of this four-foot, wooden statue to be shared at pastoral events, especially at Pentecost celebrations. Artist Alexander Kostner carved the statue in Italy and it arrived in San Diego in May 2020, amid the devastating pandemic in the U.S. and around the world. It would be a year later when the diocese could introduce the statue, “Mary, Mother of the Church,” at the Pentecost Mass for All People on May 22, 2021.

The statue depicts the Blessed Mother carrying young Jesus, who is holding St. Peter’s Basilica, a symbol of our earthly Church. As the annual Pentecost celebration gathers all of us as brothers and sisters, One in Christ Unum in Christi, her mantle embraces the diverse cultures of our local diocese, and several saints that accompany us on our spiritual journey.

Under the Blessed Mother’s mantle at the front are children representing the cultural families, as designated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Asian-Pacific Islander, Euro American, African American, Hispanic and Native American.

Under her mantle, below her right arm, are pictured St. Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and patron of the Universal Church; Venerable Augustus Tolton, a former slave and the first African American priest in the United States; St. Teresa of Calcutta, a universal symbol of God’s merciful and preferential love for the poor and forgotten; and St. Pio of Pietrelcina (“Padre Pio”), the Italian Franciscan priest known for his suffering, humility and miracles.

Under her mantle, below her left arm, are pictured St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests; St. Pope John Paul II, remembered for his love for young people, his passion for strengthening families, and for building bridges with peoples of other faiths; St. Faustina Kowalska, the “Apostle of Divine Mercy,” whose apparitions of Jesus inspired the devotion; and St. José María Robles, devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Mexican priest and Knight of Columbus martyred during the Cristero War.

Contacts

Very Rev. Michael Pham
Vicar General
Phone: (858) 490-8306
mphamEmail at symbolsdcatholic.org
Charlotte Fajardo
Assistant to the Vicar
Phone: (858) 271-0207 ext. 1204 
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Alejandra Diaz
Administrative Assistant
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African American Community
Jo Hart-Lloyd
Chair
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Selma Johnson
Vice Chair
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Deacon Marvin Threatt
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President
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Prince Paul
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Pastor
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Vietnamese Community
Giai Do
Chair
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Rev. Minh Do
Spiritual Advisor
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