We have a Strong Advocate in Mary, Queen of Heaven

By Donal Anthony Foley –

Diego_Velázquez_-_Coronation_of_the_Virgin_-_PradoToday’s feast of the Queenship of Mary was introduced into the Church’s liturgical calendar on October 11, 1954 by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Ad caeli reginam (“The Queen of Heaven”). The previous year, he had written Fulgens corona (“Radiant Crown”) and ordained that 1954 should be a Marian year, the first such celebration in nearly 2,000 years of Church history and also the 100th Anniversary of the promulgation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854 by Pope Pius IX.

In Ad caeli reginam, Pope Pius explained why he was introducing this feast: “And now, that We may bring the Year of Mary to a happy and beneficial conclusion, and in response to petitions which have come to Us from all over the world, We have decided to institute the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen. This will afford a climax, as it were, to the manifold demonstrations of our devotion to Mary, which the Christian people have supported with such enthusiasm.”

The Pope went on to say that, “In this matter We do not wish to propose a new truth to be believed by Christians, since the title and the arguments on which Mary’s queenly dignity is based have already been clearly set forth, and are to be found in ancient documents of the Church and in the books of the sacred liturgy.”

Initially this feast was celebrated on May 31, the last day of the month traditionally dedicated to Our Lady. But in 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the feast day to August 22, which is fitting since that date is the octave day of the Feast of the Assumption, which has just taken place on August 15

This was done to emphasize the close link between Our Lady being taken up into heaven, and her then being crowned as Queen of Heaven by the Blessed Trinity. As it says in Lumen Gentium (59), the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, “The Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin, on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and the conqueror of sin and death.”

In some respects, it might seem as though this talk of “Queens” and “queenship” is a bit old fashioned and not really suitable for the modern world – haven’t we gone beyond all that? But in reality, Christ is still the Universal King, and that feast is celebrated annually on the last Sunday of the liturgical year. During his trial, Pilate asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews, and he responded by saying that his kingship was not of this world, that rather his kingship was concerned with the promulgation of the truth. (John 18: 33-38).

And going right back to the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel told Our Lady that the child she would bear would be given the throne of his father David and that he would reign over the house of Jacob forever in an everlasting kingdom. Since her Son was to be a King, she would therefore be a Queen, and the Mother of God. But where her queenly dignity really shone forth was at the time of Christ’s crucifixion when she cooperated so fully in the work of redemption, as Queen by grace, and indeed as Mediatrix of all graces. Thus, the Blessed Virgin shares in the royalty of her Son, although she is obviously very much subordinate to Him.

Her position is unlike that of a normal Queen, since she was, and is, actually the Queen Mother, the mother of the King. We read in the Old Testament that under some of the Davidic kings, the gebirah, or “Great Lady,” who was usually the Mother of the King, had a powerful position as an advocate. This can be seen in the incident where Bathsheba, seated on a throne at his right, petitioned her son, King Solomon, who would not refuse her (1 Kings 2:20).

Our Lady, as Queen Mother, is an even more powerful advocate on our behalf with Jesus, the King of kings, and the Feast of the Queenship of Mary is a timely reminder of that fact.


Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions available at www.theotokos.org.uk.



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