By Catholic Review Staff
The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Jan. 1, is a holy day of obligation.
The oldest major feast honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Jan. 1 solemnity recognizes the motherhood of Mary. The celebration dates to the fifth century following the Council of Ephesus, which declared that as the mother of Christ, Mary was the “Theotokos” or “God-bearer.” The declaration was in response to a heresy promoted by Bishop Nestorius of Constantinople who maintained that the human Christ and the divine Son of God were separate entities.
Jan. 1 is also the Octave of Christmas and the World Day of Peace.
Catholics are obliged to attend Mass on holy days of obligation.