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Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Second Sunday in October. The object of this feast is to commemorate the dignity of the Mary as Mother of God. Mary is truly the Mother of Christ, who in one person unites the human and divine nature. This title was solemnly ratified by the Council of Ephesus, 22 June, 431. The hymns used in the office of the feast also allude to Mary's dignity as the spiritual mother of men. The love of Mary for all mankind was that of a mother, for she shared all the feelings of her son whose love for men led Him to die for our redemption (Hunter, Dogm.Theo. 2, 578). The feast was first granted, on the petition of King Joseph Manuel, to the dioceses of Portugal and to Brasil and Algeria, 22 January, 1751, together with the feast of the Purity of Mary, and was assigned to the first Sunday in May, dupl. maj. In the following year both feasts were extended to the province of Venice, 1778 to the kingdom of Naples, and 1807 to Tuscany. At present the feast is not found in the universal calendar of the church, but nearly all diocesan calendars have adopted it. In the Roman Breviary the feast of the Maternity is commemorated on the second, and the feast of the Purity on the third, Sunday in October. In Rome, in the Church of S. Augustine, it is celebrated as a dupl. 2. classis with an octave, in honour of the miraculous statue of the Madonna del Parto by Sansovino. This feast is also the titular feast of the Trinitarians under the invocation of N. S. de los Remedios. At Mesagna in Apulia it is kept 20 February in commemoration of the earthquake, 20 February 1743.
F. G. HOLWECK