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Their History, Meaning, & Usage

Author: Anthony M. Buono
Copyright: 2007
First Printed: 12-28-2007

Titles immediately impart an essential face about the person to whom they refer. From the beginning the Church has used titles to designate aspects of our Lord – some of which are: “Messiah”, “Lamb of God”, “Son of Man”, “Son of God”, and “Sun of Justice”. Titles for Mary in the Liturgy and in piety are likewise numerous. They refer to some dignity, honor, distinction, or preeminence attached to her by reason of her rank, office, precedent, privilege, or attainment. In short, each of May’s titles ultimately emphasizes some aspect of her relationship to God or to us. No matter what the title, every one of them recalls the person to whom it is applied, and we give our veneration to her. The present work details in some depth twenty-four official titles which provide a veritable encyclopedia of Mariology enabling the reader to encounter the unique and loving countenance of our heavenly Mother in diverse situations and under a wide variety of aspects.

About the Author: Anthony M. Buono is the author of four other Alba House titles: Liturgy: Our School of Faith (1982), Praying with the Church (1990), Active Participation at Mass (1994), and The Greatest Marian Prayers (1999). Involved with the Liturgy for most of his life. Involved with the Liturgy for most of his life, he has written widely on Mary, the Liturgy, and prayer, and his other books include Spotlight on Liturgy (1981), Favorite Prayers to Our Lady (1991), the best-selling book Dictionary of Mary (1997; editor; revised edition), and Favorite Indulgenced Prayers (2006). For many years, he penned monthly magazine columns on “Mary” for Queen of All Hearts and “Liturgy” for Pastoral Life, as well as contributed articles to Catholic DigestEmmanuelOur Family, and St. Anthony Messenger. He received his doctorate in theology from Fordham University.

Book: 328 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8189-1247-4
Prod. Code: 1247-2


When it comes to titles for the Blessed Mother, there are some we hear quite frequently, like Mother of God. And there are those like Mediatrix that might not roll off the tongue in everyday conversation. If you find yourself less than knowledgeable as to the deeper meaning of many titles of the Blessed Mother as well as how they came about, Anthony Buono has produced an ideal spiritual reference book in The Greatest Marian Titles. In his most recent work, Buono has produced a resource that is dense with information yet divided in such a way as to make it appealing and comprehensible to multiple audiences, including those with little knowledge of Mary's titles.
         Buono focuses on 24 titles for the Blessed Mother spanning those from the earliest days of the Church to titles developed -- or revived -- in more recent times. Each chapter ranges from seven to eighteen pages, making the book a perfect companion for those readers with bus or train commutes or who have short periods of time in which to read. Furthermore, each chapter is nicely structured by beginning with a short history of the title, how it developed and evolved over time, and how each is rooted in Scripture. Following the history, Buono provides brief yet compelling "Application to Us" sections in each chapter, concluding with a prayer. For example, as he concludes his chapter on the Immaculate Conception, Buono writes, "By meditating on the Immaculate Conception, we become truly aware of what we need: the strength to overcome sin that is all around us and the power to renounce Satan who can do nothing against those who refuse to yield to his temptations. Mary reminds us that we too have been redeemed by the grace of Christ and we are stronger than we think; we can and we must overcome every assault of the Evil One."
         Likewise, the prayer to Mary under the respective title that closes each chapter is a solid way to underscore the relevance of each and our continual need to seek assistance from Mary, as well as a nice segue from chapter to chapter. Buono relies on typology to trace various Marian titles to their Old Testament roots, when applicable. By tracing each title from its scriptural foundation through the teachings of the Church across the ages, Buono makes abundantly clear how our rich Marian tradition is rooted in Scripture.
         In addition to his discourse on each of the titles, Buono weaves in related Church history, such as the development of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, the history of the Rosary, and teachings about angels.While I read the book over a matter of weeks and found it informative and largely enjoyable, there were times after a long day at work when it just wasn't the right book to read. Readers will need to put in some work of their own in order to get the most out of the book. Have your Bible by your side. Take a slow and thorough approach, so that in the end you will come away with a deeper appreciation for the many titles by which we call Our Blessed Mother. --Nick Manetto in the February 15, 2009 issue of the National Catholic Register.

This handy general resource focuses on 24 official titles attributed to Mary. The author traces their development from scripture, theologians' commentaries and church teaching since the second century-approved Marian litanies and the new Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He comments on these titles in the light of the church's theological understanding of Mary since Vatican II. In an introduction he explains Mary's "present mission" in relation to that of her son, Jesus Christ, and provides a helpful succinct review of the biblical, conciliar and traditional sources upon which his work is based. Buono provides not only a brief commentary on the development of each title, but also its use in the prayer and devotion of the faithful and its application to us. Each section closes with a prayer to Mary based on that particular title. The strengths of this book are its clarity of presentation and diversityof sources. Since this book is intended for general readership, its lack of full citations for those hundreds of sources is understandable but will frustrate those who might wish to dig further into the subject. Leaders of groups using this text may want to introduce participants to biblical interpretation to avoid any temptation to a literalist reading of the scripture cited. Buono offers an amazing list of more than 500 other "selected" Marian titles in the appendix. On the whole, this small book will serve well any reader who seeks it out for inspirtation and illumination. --Eileen D. Crowley in Catholic Library World, Volume 79, Number 2, December 2008

Over the centuries, Catholic tradition has elaborated numerous titles for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Each one provides a particular insight into her relationship with her Son and her unique role in God's plan. Author Anthony Buono looks at 24 of these titles, exploring their history, meaning and usage. The book's introduction discusses the importance of such names in understanding Mary's present mission, noting their biblical, conciliar and traditional sources. Each of the succeeding chapters focuses on one particular title. The names examined range from the best known -- Mother of God, Immaculate Conception, Queen of Peace -- to some that may be less familiar -- New Eve, Daughter of Zion, Seat of Wisdom. An Index of more than 200 "selected" Marian titles bears further witness to the richness of the Marian devotional tradition. --TCA Reviews in The Catholic Answer, August 2008

Greatest TitlesThe Greatest Marian Titles: Their History, Meaning and Usage is a wonderful explanation of some of the powerful words the Church and her members have used to describe the Mother of God. From the beginning the Church has used titles to designate aspects of our Lord, like Messiah, Lamb of God, Son of Man, Son of God, etc. Titles for Mary in the Liturgy and in piety are likewise numerous. This book deals with 26 titles which provide a veritable encyclopedia of Mariology. --Crux of the News, June 9, 2008

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