The three feasts of the birthday of Our Lady, the Holy Name of Mary and her Presentation in the Temple correspond in the Marian cycle with the first three feasts of the cycle of feasts of our Lord: namely, Christmas, the Holy Name of Jesus, and His Presentation in the Temple.
Sacred Scripture contains no text concerning the event commemorated in today's liturgy. For historical background one may consult the apocryphal works, particularly the Protoevangel of St. James. After an angel had revealed her pregnancy, Anna is said to have vowed her future child Mary to the Lord. Soon after birth, the infant was brought to the sacred precincts at which only the best of Israel's daughters were admitted. At the age of three, she was transferred to the temple proper. According to legend, here she was reared like a dove and received her nourishment from the hand of an angel.
In the East, where the feast, celebrated since the eighth century, is kept as a public holiday, it bears the name, 'The Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple'. It was introduced to the papal court of Avignon in 1371. In 1472, Sixtus IV extended its observance to the whole Church. Abolished by Pius V, it was reintroduced in 1585.
As we venerate the glorious memory of the most holy Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, O Lord, through her intercession, that we, too, may merit to receive from the fullness of your grace.