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Megan Swaim suggests five ways families can celebrate not only Mary's given name, but her many devotional titles.

Sometimes I think, “If I hear my name one more time I’m going to go crazy!” In fact, that happened already this morning and it’s not even 7:00am yet! “Mom. Mom? Mom! Mommy!!” It’s sort of funny because none of those are actually, officially, my name; I’m Megan. But this vocation has transformed me; I’m no longer just Megan, I am “Mom.” At all hours of the night and day, from every corner of this house, whispered and screamed, it’s what they call me. And when they call “Mom!” I respond because that’s my name. 

At the end of this week (September 12) the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, and I’ve been thinking of this feast lately in the context of her Motherhood. Unlike me, I’m sure she never tires of hearing us call her name. And I’m sure she never drags her feet to attend to us, even in the earliest hours of the morning. Mary delights in our call, because she is our Mother. So when the Church celebrates this feast, we not only honor her given name -- Mary -- and the role she played in our salvation, but we remember with gratitude everything we’ve received through her intercession, all the times we’ve called out “Blessed Mother!” and she’s rushed to our aid. 

I love this feast because Mary has done so much for me; and like a little child, I call to her often. But I am also challenged by this feast to imitate her as Mother, and to respond to my children with the same swift and fierce love. 

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate this feast with your family, may I suggest reading the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary? (It’s also called the Litany of Loreto.) This prayer uses the many titles of Mary -- 54 of them, in fact -- to call out to her and ask her intercession. Here’s a simple guide:

  1. Look through the Litany together as a family, perhaps even read out loud all the different names of Mary.
  2. Ask your children to share which of the many titles they liked the best. Be sure to ask them why that particular one impressed them. And of course, share your favorite with them too!
  3. Invite everyone in the family to offer one petition, one thing to ask of our Mother today.
  4. Pray the Litany together as a family; if you have older children who can read, you can pray it “call-and-response” style and even have them lead a portion.
  5. After your prayer, feast! Celebrate Mary our Mother with a fun family activity, a big bowl of ice cream, whatever fun thing helps your family have a joyful today together.

I am challenged by this feast to imitate Mary as Mother, and to respond to my children with the same swift and fierce love. #catholicmom

Do you have a special way of celebrating the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary? We’d love to hear your ideas down in the comments!

Copyright 2020 Megan Swaim
Image: Pixabay (2016)