The Birth of the Virgin Mary
(Feast Day 8 September)

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Birth of Mary - by Domenico GHIRLANDAIO, from the Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence . . .
(The Feast of the Birth of Mary on 8 September is celebrated nine months, the period of human gestation,
after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December)


Matthew 1:1-16, 18-23

A family record of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa. Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile. After the Babylonian exile Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary. It was of her that Jesus Who is called the Messiah was born. Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, an upright man unwilling to expose her to the law, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream and said to him: "Joseph, son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child. She is to have a Son and you are to name Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins." All this happened to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin shall be with Child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call Him Emmanuel," a name which means "God is with us."

by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen


Feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary

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This feast of the Birth of Mary is one of the first links between the Old Testament and the New Testament and the origins of the feast date back to the fifth century when a Church was built on the site where the pool of Bethesda was, as told in John 5:1-9. The scholars of those days deducted that it was also the site of where Our Lady's parents Saint Joachim and Saint Anne lived, and Mary was born. Since Mary was the one God chose to become the Mother of Our Savior, the Church felt it important to honor her feast. Though it started in the East, by the seventh century Rome was celebrating it in the universal Church instituted by Pope Sergius I in the early 700's. In the 13th century the feast became a Solemnity with a day of fasting the day before. Though there were various dates over the centuries on which different countries and cultures celebrated her birth, the Church officially attributed the Blessed Mother's birth to September 8th - nine months after the Feast of Mary's Immaculate Conception which is celebrated December 8th.

Pools of Bethesda - At the site today, you can see houses from modern Jerusalem (top), the ruins of a Byzantine Church (red arrow) and a Crusaders Church (blue arrow). The remains of the pools are at the bottom of the photo.


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by Saint Alphonsus Liguori