An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Mary, Queen of the Family

Regina familiae, ora pro nobis!
Queen of the Family, pray for us!

The Litany of Loreto is an almost-five-hundred-year-old prayer invoking Mary by a number of different titles, each one expressing a different aspect of her relationship to God or to us. Additional titles have rarely been added to the Litany, but in December 1995, Blessed John Paul II added the title Regina familiae, that is, “Queen of the Family.” Why did he do this? What was he trying to show?

It’s important to remember that Mary had a family—she wasn’t just Jesus’ mother, but she was Joseph’s wife! In fact, we can say that theirs was the holiest of all marriages. Why? Because Christ was at its very heart. God’s great regard for the family can be seen by the fact that the Son came into the world in a family, having a mother and a father to raise him (St Joseph, of course, was not Jesus’ biological father, but God gave him paternal authority over him, making sure that he had both a mother and a father). Our Lady, then, knows what it is to be a mother and a wife. God chose her to be the mother of his own Son, the Immaculate Mother of God, and she raised him with her husband St Joseph, the patron of the Universal Church—so it is that we call her the Queen of the Family.

Blessed John Paul II well understood that marriage and family cannot, in the end, be understood without each other: marriage leads to a family, and a family is founded on a marriage. In his 1994 Letter to Families he wrote: “Marriage is a unique communion of persons, and it is on the basis of this communion that the family is called to become a communion of persons.” The communion of persons in the Holy Family included the communion of persons in the marriage of Mary and Joseph (that their marriage was celibate does not subtract from its dignity as a marriage). May we look to this Holy Family as a model and guide for our own families and marriages that Christ may always remain at the heart of both.

(For the full text of Bl. JPII’s Letter to Families visit:

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