Cardinal Wuerl Celebrates Mass to Mark Opening of Exhibit on the Blessed Virgin Mary

“Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea” at National Museum of Women in the Arts
runs through April 12, 2015

December 3, 2014

WASHINGTON – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, today celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle to mark the opening of an exhibit honoring the Virgin Mary at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

In his homily, the Cardinal referenced the Gospel reading for the day, the story of the multiplication of loaves and fishes (Matthew 15: 29-37). While it is God who works the miracle, each of us plays a role, he said. “All of us are asked to have the faith and the generosity of the person who offered their gifts so that God could work the miracle.” Tying this to the significance of the Virgin Mary, the Cardinal continued, “The great model of offering her gifts so that God could work the miracle is Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God. It was her giving of herself in faith that resulted in what we will soon celebrate – the Nativity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

“There is no other woman in all of human history who is as applauded, recognized and honored as is Mary, the maiden of Nazareth, who conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and brought forth in Bethlehem God’s Son, Jesus Christ. In churches, hymns, songs and above all in artwork, there has been a universal outpouring of a love for Mary,” the Cardinal said. “Mary is the model of what our faith should be. Like us, Mary was a human being who had to be open to hear and accept God’s Word and to grasp the mysterious ways in which God works. She did so with that consummate fidelity that she is forever the example of what we mean by faith – true profound faith.”

As he concluded the homily, the Cardinal acknowledged and thanked those who were responsible for the exhibit that allows people to enjoy and reflect on depictions of Mary in art covering seven centuries. Referencing the banner hanging outside the museum with the invitation, “Meet Mary,” the Cardinal said the banner could be an invitation to all in this season of Advent  “to meet Mary and try to the best of our ability to imitate her faith in a way that opens us to experience more fully her Son and our Lord today and at the Nativity – Christmas.”

The exhibition was organized with the support of the Archdiocese of Washington, and is made possible in part through the generosity of individuals and foundations in the archdiocese. For more information, visit the National Museum for Women in the Arts at


The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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