The Catholic Church encourages that special veneration be given to Mary. This honor is due to her as Mother of Christ, as Mother of the Church, and as our spiritual Mother. This veneration is to be shown to others by word and example.
Pope Paul VI solemnly brought the third session of Vatican Council II to a close on November 21, 1964, in the presence of the entire body of the Church’s bishops, with the following words: “For the glory of the Virgin Mary and for our own consolation, we proclaim Mary the Mother of the Church, that is, of the whole People of God, of the faithful as well as of the pastors, and we wish that through this title the Mother of God should be still more honored and invoked by the entire Christian people.”
Pope John Paul II, in his homily in Washington, D.C., on October 6, 1979, said to the American people and to the world:
“Mary is not only the Mother of God, she is the Mother of the Church as well. In every stage of the march through history, the Church has benefited from the prayer and protection of the Virgin Mary. Holy Scripture and the experience of the faithful see the Mother of God as the one who, in a very special way, is united with the Church at the most difficult moments in its history, when attacks on the Church become most threatening. Precisely in periods when Christ, and therefore His Church, provokes premeditated contradiction, Mary appears particularly close to the Church, because for her the Church is always her beloved Christ.
“I, therefore, exhort you in Christ Jesus, to continue to look to Mary as the model of the Church, as the best example of the discipleship of Christ.
“Learn from her to be always faithful, to trust that God’s word to you will be fulfilled, and that nothing is impossible with God.
“Turn to Mary frequently in your prayers ‘for never was it known that anyone who fled to her protection, implored her help or sought her intercession was left unaided.’
“As a great sign that has appeared in the heavens, Mary guides and sustains us on our pilgrim way, urging us on to ‘the victory that overcomes the world, our faith’ (cf. Revelation 12:1; 1 John 5:4).”