When did Catholics begin praying to Mary and why?


Q: When did Catholics begin praying to Mary and why?

A:  After Jesus returned to Heaven, Mary remained the closest living link to Jesus, on the earth.

It’s not difficult to imagine how a brief personal encounter with the Blessed Virgin might provide inspiration to the faithful, and also provide faithful witness to an often incredulous and unbelieving world.

During such encounters, it was certainly not unusual for someone to ask Mary to pass along prayers and petitions to her divine son, Jesus. In fact, nothing could be more natural.

When Mary’s earthly existence was complete, those who knew her, particularly St. John, who was entrusted with her care by Christ, never believed for a moment that God would permit her holy and virginal human body to see the corruption of the grave.

Shortly after her body was placed in the tomb, the tomb was found to be empty, leading the apostles to believe that Mary had indeed been assumed into Heaven by the power of God, where she immediately received the fullness of all God’s rewards.

According to the Bible, those rewards include ruling and reigning with Jesus Christ, enthronement in a place of honor, and a share in God’s own divine life.

By virtue of our baptism, Catholics have the right to pray to anyone in Heaven, for any good reason.

This takes nothing at all away from the worship we reserve for God alone. It is simply the logical and natural way of staying in touch with all the members of the Body of Christ.

Mary is a living icon of the Church, the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven, the holiest and most gracefully successful creature who ever lived, and the God-appointed intercessor on our behalf, with her divine son Jesus.

That’s plenty of reasons to stay in touch with her. Not that we can’t also pray to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, whenever we like.




  1. so why should catholics pray to the dead , what is the purpose if only God has the sole power to answer prayer and to save our souls?

    • People began praying (making requests) of/to Mary while she was still alive on earth … even before Jesus’ saving death on the cross.

      After Jesus ascended to heaven, Mary was still alive on earth, and she was, by virtue of her divine son Jesus being King of Kings and Lord of Lords, recognized not only as the Mother of God, but as the reigning Queen Mother of the royal line of the King of Israel.

      The official duty of the mother of the king, according to the Bible, is to intercede on behalf of the people, with the king. So we should not be surprised about that. Consult 1st Kings 2:19 to see precisely how that works.

      And while Jesus is our only redeemer, he most certainly appointed the apostles, his mother, and others (including every Christian) to help spread the Gospel to all.

      Catholics also understand that Jesus would not have permitted his mother’s holy and virginal body to see corruption, and there is evidence from tradition that God assumed the Blessed Virgin, body and soul, into heaven, where she now rules and reigns with Jesus, the eternal King of the Ages, according to his grace.

      None of this is all that unique, since Jesus makes similar promises, with similar eternal rewards attached, to all who manage to successfully cooperate with his grace, and eventually obtain heaven.

      That is why Catholics venerate the saints, and ask for their intercession with God.

      The concept of the Kinsman Redeemer is firmly rooted in scripture. Death has no lasting power over true believers in Jesus Christ, and Heaven poses absolutely no barrier to the love of God.

      In short, Catholics rightly understand that we are all one, big, blessed, and very powerful family in Christ … whether we’re still alive here on earth, undergoing final purification in purgatory, or already perfected in heaven, with God.

      Searching on any of these terms, using the search box on our web site, will provide you with additional information on all these things, and much more. You will also find numerous links to other good sites on our home page, which I’m sure you will enjoy.

      Thank you for your questions. Please write again.


      • Isn’t it amazing how people, including organized religions, recreate
        the past, to support their beliefs today, which by the way is what went on in the old Testemant time and time again. The creative mind never ceases to amaze me. Our Creator God probably just shakes his head.

  2. Brother, we live by Faith not by sight.

  3. You say Mary is the Queen in heaven but when Jesus was asked about the woman who was married to several brothers Jesus responded by saying that in heaven we will be like angels. Not male or female….etc. How can Mary then be a Queen? You also said it’s logical….well, God said “I will make fools of the wise.” We can’t try to use human logic to figure things out because Gods ways are so much higher than ours and his thoughts are not our thoughts. I was raised Catholic but I became a true Christian when I heard someone speak of the cross. I don’t understand what happened, but it was like my eyes were opened. I had this deep love for CHrist and I couldn’t stop reading the bible. I had this peace and joy no matter what was going on around me. I also know catholic friends who have had the same experience, but not in the catholic church. THey go back to the catholic church because of pressure from family members. Sorry to say but that church is dead and dying. THey are not preaching the word of God like they should and the sheep are dead and dying. THey don’t even preach about being born again. They tell their congregation that when they are baptized as infants that they are then christians. Babies who can’t even understand. Even Jesus was baptized in this thirties. We have to make a choice to follow christ and babies can’t make that choice. THey will automatically go to heaven because they don’t understand right from wrong yet. I’m so grateful God brought me out of that religion and into a real relationship with him through Christ Jesus!!!!!!!

    • Dear Goodnews,

      Mary is the Queen of Heaven because she is the mother of Jesus Christ, the eternal king of the royal house of David, and according to both scripture and Hebrew tradition, the mother of the king is the queen. Since Jesus took his human body back to heaven with with him, and assumed the body of his mother Mary into heaven as well, there is no conflict whatsoever with the Catholic teaching on this matter. A divine and perfect man sits (bodily) at the right hand of the Father in heaven, and (bodily) seated at his right hand is the first non-divine person who was ever fully perfected by God’s grace. Which of us truly knows precisely how those in heaven might be like angels, especially when the scriptures indicate that those who overcome the world and the flesh and the devil, by the grace of God, will actually be higher (more powerful) than the angels? While human logic certainly has its limits, especially when fathoming the depths of the divine mysteries, there’s no substitute for a generous application of both faith and reason, when attempting to do so. When it comes to faith and reason, as well as divine revelation, no tradition on earth can compare with the divine mandate, the richness and the absolute truth of Catholicism, or the 2000 years worth of superb scholarship and philosophy that, courtesy of the Holy Spirit, continues to illuminate those truths. As for your feelings of peace and joy … I’m happy for you … but I’ve had Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims also report much the same feelings. Feelings are not proof of much. Good fruit is. And the very best type of good fruit typically begins with a soul that is full of grace. The Catholic Church remains holy because Jesus is head of it, the Holy Spirit is its eternal advocate, and all of this is in keeping with God the Father’s will. People who say the church is dead or dying, typically forget the lesson of the Resurrection. They also forget (or conveniently discount) the fact that Jesus Christ personally guaranteed that the church he personally founded and paid for with his blood will never fail, even if some of the people who run it and/or belong to it will. As for infant baptism … it is the most gratuitous act of the Holy Spirit that will ever be witnessed on this earth … a superb example of salvation according to the faith of the church, with absolutely no works at all required of the baptized. And of course, the baptized infant, already a living temple of the Holy Spirit, will typically be given ample opportunity to confirm his/her faith through the sacrament of confirmation. Actually receiving a double anointing. As for Jesus … John’s baptism of repentance was not the authentic baptism we Christians enjoy. Since the earliest days of the church, it has been common and quite orthodox to baptize not only infants … but entire households. According to St. Paul, circumcision … performed on the eighth day of life under the Old Covenant … remains the best biblical antetype for baptism … since baptism initiates a soul into the New Covenant People of God, much as circumcision did for the Old Covenant Chosen People. As for relationship with God … Catholics enjoy a close, personal encounter with Jesus Christ every time they partake of any of the seven sacraments … particularly the Holy Eucharist … which is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, made present for us on the holy altar at every Mass, under the auspices of bread and wine. I’m a regular critic of those who fail to live out the authentic spirit of the Catholic Church, and those who cause scandal and disunity, and I’ve learned to deal with such things, as Christ did. A little more than eight percent of the original apostles, selected by Jesus himself, turned out to be totally corrupt, and the rest weren’t much better … at least, at first. Nothing much seems to have changed over the last 2000 years. And that’s my whole point. Jesus is God. He knew the future with infallible, divine precision, yet he founded, empowered and guaranteed only one church … the Catholic church. He certainly never founded any other. I suggest that you and the others you mentioned, probably through no fault of your own, were never taught and/or never learned the authentic teachings and practices of the Catholic church, its divine origins and holy mandate, so it’s little wonder that you turned out to be easy pickings for the Christian church of “feel good” … trading away the infallible sacred traditions of the Catholic church, the complete canon of scripture and authentic body and blood of Jesus Christ, for the Protestant Bible, an altar call and an occasional meal of crackers and grape juice. What more can be said? There is no substitute for the real thing, which is, was, and has always been … Catholic. Jesus and I had breakfast together this morning. We prayed together, laughed together, cried together, and planned a future together … and we did it right here on earth… in real time … in the flesh … just the way God intended. That’s Catholicism! And it doesn’t get any better than that, this side of heaven. Thanks for writing. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

      Doug Lawrence

      • Wow all who believe that Mary is anything more than a woman used by God have lost their focus on Christ. Mary isn’t even in the hall of fame of faith written in Hebrews. There is no such thing as a queen of heaven as the bible states. And for you to use the word to try and prove your point in order to pray to a person with no power to get you into heaven is just stupid. This entire conversation is crazy. If you are praying to Mary you have lost your first love. And have wondered down a path away from Jesus. If Mary is so Devine why doesn’t Jesus tell us this. ………… Omg

    • Amen. We are to share the gospel, not worship Mary. There is nothing in the New Testament about Mary remaining a virgin either. Jesus alone is the Savior. Believe. Repent. Be born again. Be saved. Jesus’. Blood alone saves.

      • Moses spent 40 days in the presence of God on Mount Sinai and his body was so transformed by the experience that his face (literally) shone like the sun.

        The Blessed Virgin Mary carried the divine Jesus in her womb for nine months and then proceeded to spend the next 33 years living in close proximity to him.

        She was also perfected by God’s sanctifying grace – something which Moses and the all people – up until the time of Christ – were totally deprived.

        Compare the two experiences and try to form a rational conclusion as to which of these two great biblical figures was more highly privileged by Almighty God!

        Moses is recognized as a great prophet and as the Law Giver, even though the words he spoke and laws he gave were totally God’s.

        The human body of Jesus, the Eternal Word made Flesh, whose atoning sacrifice on the cross redeemed the whole world, was – with her express permission – fashioned from Mary’s very own flesh – something which demonstrates a level of personal cooperation with God’ grace that is totally unprecedented, by anyone of anything, before or since.

        The Blessed Virgin Mary is not only the Mother of God and the spouse of the Holy Spirit, but she is Jesus’ first, best and most constant disciple – and the only non-divine person in human history who ever perfectly cooperated with God’s grace.

        Compare the respective scriptural treatment of Moses and the Blessed Virgin Mary – line for line and page for page – and from the sheer number of words, it would seem that Moses is by far the most important figure – but even Moses would tell you that is certainly not the case!

        Luke 1:26-35 explains who Mary truly is, according to God’s grace and in keeping with his predestined, preordained “economy of salvation”.

        God the Father, the Holy Spirit and her divine son Jesus all agree that the Blessed Virgin Mary is perfectly suited to be the Mother of God and – according to Luke 1:28-35, the Queen of the Royal House of David (where the queen is traditionally defined as the mother of the King – and in the case of Jesus Christ, the Eternal King of the Ages -also the eternal Queen of Heaven.

        There is no other correct way to read these passages!

        All of this takes nothing away from The Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. Just the opposite is true.

        The Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as all the other holy men and women described in the scriptures give unending glory to God – whose divine plan of predestination for the salvation of the world could not and did not fail.

        Grace is what saves, according to faith in Jesus Christ, our Holy Redeemer.

        It was Jesus’ voluntary, obedient, atoning death on the cross, as one of us and on our behalf, that destroyed Satan’s power and turned the righteous anger of God the Father to mercy, obtaining the grace necessary for the salvation of all men.

        All praise, honor and glory be to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!

        Thank you for writing.


  4. I think it’s is very telling that catholics point to their traditions for authority not scripture. It’s like saying, “if you don’t believe me just ask me”. Jesus is the only way John14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. That means just what it says, Jesus no one else! How about Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. These are just a few but if catholics would just read there bible’s they would see that it’s very clear! Jesus not mary is our salvation. Another thing i would like to address is if she is so important why did scripture let us know, instead you find scriptures like Luke 11:27,28 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. Or how about Mark 3:31-35 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. Trust me if God wanted us to know and practice something it would be found in His Word. Psalm 138:2 gives us a look at how much God thinks of His Word. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Also we see clearly what Jesus said in John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. If you follow His Word you can’t go wrong, if you let men and their traditions lead you, God have mercy.

    • You just spent over thirty lines explaining what you believe, according to your own particular faith tradition. Good luck with that exercise in circular reasoning!

      Catholics were there when Jesus walked the earth. They actually knew Jesus, Mary, the Apostles and the other disciples.

      Some of what they know is recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, but the great majority was handed down according to Tradition – precisely the way the majority of the Old Testament scriptures were handed down, for some 2,000 years.

      The writings of the Early Church Fathers refer often to these things.

      Tradition, Sacred Scripture and Authoritative Teaching have all been essential to the transmission of God’s truth, ever since Moses established the Levitical Priesthood, through his brother, Aaron – and it remains so, to this day – at least, in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

      The problem with the Protestant faith tradition is that they have no absolutely authority from God, so they attempt to use a relatively late, particularly warped and circular approach to the authority of the Bible, instead. Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 Protestants typically cannot agreed on what the Bible actually means, so their efforts are and likely always will be in vain.

      God never instructed Moses to write the first five books of the Old Testament. Moses did that under his own authority – and so doing he began a long and cherished tradition that was later confirmed by Jesus Christ.

      Divinely conferred Teaching Authority PLUS Tradition PLUS Scripture = A Holy Trinity of THREE WITNESSES to God’s Divine Truth.

      If any of the three fail to agree, there’s a problem. Somebody’s taking liberties with the truth. It’s that simple!

      Jesus’ personally confirmed the essential need for Tradition, Scripture and Authoritative Teaching in order to dependably transmit all the divine, revealed truths.That’s why Jesus instructed the people to do what the corrupt Priests, Scribes and Pharisees teach and and command, but not to do what they do. (Matthew 23).

      Authority given by God is true authority indeed. The Priests and Scribes got their’s from Moses and Aaron. The Catholic Church got its’ authority from Jesus himself. Protestants got no authority from anybody!

      So – it’s the late arriving Protestants who deny Sacred Tradition and Divine Teaching Authority, because their particular faith tradition is built solely on the traditions of men, and the nuanced idea of interpreting a thoroughly Catholic, Holy Spirit inspired Book (The Bible) in ways that no one before them ever did – or likely ever would.

      God have mercy, indeed.

      Merry Christmas!


      • It goes without out saying that I reject many things that you say, but the topic is about praying to mary, and I want to stay focused here. You said -Divinely conferred Teaching Authority PLUS Tradition PLUS Scripture = A Holy Trinity of THREE WITNESSES to God’s Divine Truth.

        If any of the three fail to agree, there’s a problem. Somebody’s taking liberties with the truth. It’s that simple! Where in scripture does it teach to pray to anyone but God. I just want God’s word on this not some sinner like me. Just scripture please. Also i would like to say thank you for being polite and Merry Christmas to you.

      • For the simplest answer to your question I recommend the short video linked to this post, which uses the Old and New Testament scriptures to clearly define the “office” of the Mother of the King – in this case, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the mother of Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.


        A related slide show also explains things quite clearly here: https://douglawrence.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/blessed-virgin-mary/

        Merry Christmas!


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