Q: Is it necessary for salvation to believe in the help of Mary and the saints?
A: It is through Mary that salvation (=Christ) came to us but she is not salvation. She is the first redeemed person through Jesus. Catholic faith does not obligate us to believe in Mary as the mandatory way to or source of salvation. However, salvation is much more than myself and my God, saved or damned. Knowing that our salvation is and through Christ, our sole mediator, we celebrate, share, encourage and help each other in the communion of saints. We attempt to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ our ultimate model and are happy to be a part of the circle of His disciples.
It is here that we encounter Mary, in many ways similar to us: radically loving Christ, a mother who becomes His disciple, asking Him to help fellow human beings, accepting to become mother in the spirit of Jesus beloved disciple, suffering with Him as mother and disciple, forming part of the Pentecost community in Jerusalem. All of these events are rooted in the Bible. This being as it is, can't we joyously say: I need all the friends I can get? Mary is one of those spiritual friends: unobtrusive, available and compassionate. In the realm of spirituality, she is an offer, not an obsessive must.