WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8: Only two saints have their birthdays recognized by the Catholic Church, and today, one of them shines: the Virgin Mary. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that, of the two saints, only the Virgin Mary is believed to have been without Original Sin at the time of her own conception. (FishEaters has more about traditions concerning Mary, plus suggested readings.)
In addition to Roman Catholics and some Anglicans, Syrian Christians recognize Mary’s birthday today, too—and with good reason. It’s recorded that St. Romanus, a Syrian native and deacon of a church in Constantinople, first emphasized the need for a feast in honor of Mary’s Nativity. (Read more at CatholicCulture.org.) St. Romanus wrote hymns in this mother’s honor and spread knowledge of this feast to multiple churches during the 6th century. By the 7th century, the Roman Church had accepted her feast.
Like John the Baptist’s parents, Mary’s parents are believed to have been beyond child-bearing age when they fasted and prayed to God for a child. (Wikipedia has details.) The Gospel of James states that Joachim and Anna’s prayers were answered with the Virgin Mary and, as a testament to Mary’s holy motherhood, mothers around the world pray today in gratitude. (Get a similar perspective at Women For Faith and Family, or read the release at Catholic News Agency.)
In Banaglore, the archbishop will hoist a flag in representation of raising hearts to God, “Ave Maria” will be sung and candles will illuminate multiple churches, according to Times of India. The Archbishop of Barcelona called on Spanish Catholics to visit Marian shrines this week and pray to the Mother of God.