The Marian Year emphasized a time of preparation before the turn of the millennium. In a symbolic sense, the year 1978-88 was
chosen to mark the time elapsed between Mary's birth and Christ's incarnation at the Annunciation. Pope John Paul II called for
spiritual renewal to prepare for the year 2000 understood as the beginning of the third millennium of Jesus Christ's incarnation.
There are five major parts to the document: 1) "Jesus Christ is
the same yesterday and today..." 2) The Jubilee of the Year 2000 3)
Preparation for the Great Jubilee 4) Immediate Preparation with two
phases and finally the celebration of the jubilee. The second phase
was to be divided into three periods: Year One: Jesus Christ; Year
Two: the Holy Spirit; Year Three: God the Father. The final chapter is 5) "Jesus Christ is the same ... for ever."
During the time of preparation, each of the years was to reflect
Mary in relationship to the doctrine of the Trinity. Mary's divine
motherhood, her faith, the fulfillment of the Christian's
baptism, catechesis--these aspects were to be studied in the Year of
Christ, 1997. In the Year of the Holy Spirit, 1998, his sanctifying
presence, confirmation, the virtue of hope--all exemplified
in Mary--were to be studied. The Year of God the Father, 1999, was
to cover the themes: faith journey to the Father, conversion, the
virtue of charity as love of God and neighbor--again, a model
for this is Mary. The final year, the Year 2000 is meant to give glory
to the Trinity. An International Eucharistic Congress should
take place in Rome. The year should be intensely Eucharistic, ecumenical and universal.
The teaching on Mary in Tertio Millennio Adveniente is not
new. The document specifically traces the lines from Lumen Gentium to Redemptoris Mater and now to
Tertio Millennio Adveniente. (TM 26) Mary, who gave the Incarnate Word
his flesh, will play her on-going supporting role in the new millennium.