Mense maio - The Month of May
Pope Paul VI
April 29, 1965
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Mense Maio is a call to pray for peace in the world during the month of May. The
document was published five months after the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution,
Lumen Gentium. The pastoral urgency in the political struggle with communism was the
underlying cause for writing the letter. It is a short document, and may appear to have only
immediate pastoral significance. In addition, the text is not in all cases Marian, but the
recommendation to call upon Mary's intercession is woven throughout.|
Not taking into account the council documents, Mense Maio is the first magisterial
document after the council to contain Marian teaching. The text includes the title given to Mary
by Paul VI on November 21, 1964, (the day of Lumen Gentium's promulgation, Mother
of the Church. "[M]ost holy Mary Mother of the Church, that is of the whole Christian people,
both faithful and pastors, who call her a most loving Mother we decree that henceforth the
whole Christian people should, by this most sweet name, give still greater honor to the Mother of
God and address prayers to her." 
Mense Maio refers to the council by stating that Mary had assisted it:
"from the beginning of the Council she [Mary] has been unstinting in her loving
help and will certainly not fail to continue her assistance to the final stage
of the work." (MM 7)
Mary's intercession is explained in Mense Maio in relation to Jesus Christ who has
appointed her to be "steward and generous bestower" (MM 10) of his treasures.
Christ, the Father of mercies, shows mercy through Mary. From her throne, the gifts of God's
mercy come down to us (MM 5). We may confide in her who is Mother of the
Church "to obtain God's light and blessings." (MM 7)
 Pope Paul VI, "Discourse of 21 November 1964," AAS 56
(1964): 1015. See:
Michael O'Carroll, C.S.Sp., "Mother of the Church," Theotokos: A Theological Encyclopedia
of the Blessed Virgin
Mary Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, Inc. , 1982, 251-252 [extensive
bibliography]; Anthony T. Padovano,
"Mary, Mother of the Church," Marian Studies 26 (1966): 27-45; George W. O'Shea,
"Pope Paul VI and the 'Mother
of the Church,'" Marian Studies 16 (1965): 21-28.
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This document is found at: Mense maio - The
Month of May
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AAS 57 (1965) 354-358; |
St Paul Editions, 1965.
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