This is probably one of the most famous questions always tossed to Catholics and often a focus of criticism. Do we worship Mary? Some children responded thus:
‘We honour her with great reverence and devotion because she is the mother of our God’
Often, non-Catholics argue and still refuse to believe what we tell them. They even bring up Bible quotations in their arguments. Funny enough, some Catholics do not give them deep answers to clear their doubts. They keep asking to the extent that some Catholics have started asking themselves, “Do we worship Mary in the Catholic Church as they say?” But the answer remains, that we don’t worship Mary! There is nowhere in the Bible that we are told to pray to, or worship Mary or any saint. Mary is our co-redeemer with Christ because of the unique role she played in the salvation history by saying “yes” when God sent His Angel to her. The angel greeted her with a great greeting which no other woman in the Bible was greeted. The angel went to her and said, “Hail Mary full of grace! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid for you have found favour with God.” (Luke 1:28) And Mary without hesitation said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). We Catholics do not worship Mary; the Church teaches that worship is meant for God alone. We honour her with great reverence and devotion because she is the mother of our God. Mary is the model of perfect love and obedience to Christ.
• Ndubuisi Maryann Amarachi, St. Stephen Catholic Church, Whitesand, Iba Deanery.
‘We are honouring Mary, we never worship her’
We honour/venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary deserves a greater degree of veneration than all creatures. She lived all her years on Earth in perfect obedience to the father. His will was her mission. Mary perfectly molded a life of virtue. She showed us the path to true freedom, true happiness, and true living. And for that, too, she deserves devotion like no other. One of the reasons for honouring Mary is love. If we love Jesus Christ and believe him to be our Lord and saviour, we will love Mary His mother. In the Catholic Church, we have a song that goes this way; “we are honouring Mary, we are honouring, we are honouring Mary, we never worship her, some people say we worship her, not at all, everybody join the chorus honour her, honour Mary.
• Akuwudike Victor Chidera, Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Shomolu, Yaba Deanery.
‘She deserves to be given the honour’
To start with, let us look at the time angel Gabriel declared unto Mary. If she had declined would there be a saviour of the world? No, there won’t. Given this, she deserves to be given the honour. It is just like being grateful to someone’s helper, a person who gave birth to our saviour. Mary is also known as our Mother of Perpetual Help, the Mother that is full of grace, the Queen of virgins, Our Lady of Lourdes, and the queen without original sin.
• Kolade Martina Olayemi, St. Francis Catholic Church, Apapa, Badagry Deanery.
We are honouring Mary because she bore forth the Saviour of the world’
‘We are honouring Mary, we are honouring, we never worship her…. people say we worship her but not at all, everybody join the chorus…. Yes, this song has answered the question about worshipping Mary. We are honouring Mary because she bore forth the Saviour of the World. She carries our petition to our Lord Jesus Christ for us that is why we honour her and not worship her. The Quran mentioned Mary’s name seventy times and acknowledged her as the most virtuous woman that ever lived.
• Samuel Chidalu, Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Tedi, Satellite Deanery.
‘We honour Mary; she is a powerful intercessor for us’
We do not worship Mary in Catholic Church; we honour Mary as the Mother of Jesus. We believe that she holds a special place in our faith, and is a powerful intercessor for us. However, it’s important to note that worship is reserved for God alone. We honour Mary as a model of faith and devotion, but we do not worship her.
• Michael Stella Ugomma, St. Augustine Catholic Church, Ikorodu, Ikorodu Deanery.
‘The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that worship is meant for God alone’
Everything done in the Catholic Church draws its history either from the scriptures or from tradition. The answer to the question, “Do we worship Mary in the Catholic Church? Can be boldly seen in the scriptures. In the Catholic Church, we do not worship Mary, but we honour her because of the great role she played in the redemption of mankind. For this reason, she was created spotless (without sin). Catholics honour or venerate the Blessed Mother; we do not worship her. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that worship or adoration is meant for God alone. The honour given to Mary is known as ‘Hyperdulia’. Mary is someone we Catholics believe is in heaven, and is the ‘Theotokos’ (Mother of God, that is, Jesus is God and Mary is His mother). We honour Mary for two reasons; the first is we honour her because God first honoured her through the Angel Gabriel when he told her (Luke 1:28) “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Secondly, through her “yes”, (Luke 1:38) “I am the Lord’s servant, may it happen to me as you have said “, Mary replied. St Louis de Montfort taught that God appointed Mary as the “dispenser of grace”, and to receive grace from God, one can receive it through the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
• Mimi Gomez, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Victoria Island, Lagos Island Deanery.
‘Catholics don’t worship Mary; we pray through her’
The simple answer is No, Catholics don’t worship Mary. We pray through Mary, but not in the same way we pray to God -and not to worship her as God. Think of it in this way: if you get sick and asked a friend to pray for you, they probably would. Our relationship with Mary operates under this same principle. Catholics honour or venerate the Blessed Mother; they do not worship her. The catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that worship or adoration is meant for God alone. Catholics as well as the Orthodox churches and some older protestant groups venerate Mary and the saints. Mary is venerated because she is full of God’s own life and love, his grace (Luke 1:28). Christ is the center of the Catholic Christian worship. The honour and veneration given to Mary further expresses the Christian’s worship of God owing to the acknowledgment of God’s greatest human creation, the Mother of his Son.
• Abraham Somtochukwu Henry, St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Ebute Metta, Yaba Deanery.