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Liturgy

Thursday of the 16th Week in Ordinary Time - Sts. Joachim & Anne

 

SAINT JOACHIM and SAINT ANNE
Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Memorial

These names are given to the mother and father of the Blessed Virgin by a tradition dating back to the second century. By tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary's father and mother come to us through legend and tradition. We get the oldest story from a document called the Gospel of James, though this document is not a historical source, nor the Word of God. The legend told in this document says that after years of childlessness, an angel appeared to tell Anne and Joachim that they would have a child. Anne promised to dedicate this child to God (much the way that Samuel was dedicated by his mother Hannah -- Anne -- in 1 Kings).

As St. John Damascene wrote: "Joachim and Ann, how blessed a couple! All creation is indebted to you. For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste mother, who alone was worthy of him."

Whatever their names or the facts of their lives, the truth is that it was the parents of Mary who nurtured Mary, taught her, brought her up to be a worthy Mother of God. It was their teaching that led her to respond to God's request with faith, "Let it be done to me as you will." It was their example of parenting that Mary must have followed as she brought up her own son, Jesus. It was their faith that laid the foundation of courage and strength that allowed her to stand by the cross as her son was crucified and still believe.

Such parents can be examples and models for all parents.

Anne (or Ann) is the patron saint of Christian mothers and of women in labor.

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