African Perspectives of Mary, Her Response to Angel Gabriel, Highlights of New Book

A poster announcing the launch of the book titled, “The Handmaid of the Lord: Mariology from its Doctrinal and African Perspectives” by Fr. Vincent Mrio. Credit: Courtesy Photo

How the Blessed Virgin Mary reflects African values and what the people of God in Africa can learn from her response to angel Gabriel are some of the highlights of a new book that was launched in Nairobi on Tuesday, May 18.

Published under the title, “The Handmaid of the Lord: Mariology from its Doctrinal and African Perspectives”, the book seeks to explain the essential place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Christians life and, according to the author, fills a gap in literature in Africa about Mary.

Speaking during the launch of the book, the author, Fr. Vincent Mrio, said the book relates the life of struggle experienced by African women to the mission of the Virgin Mary as the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Doctrines concerning Mary are also encouraging the African Church,” Fr. Mrio said, adding that in Chapter five of the book, he sought to explain how Mary, in playing her role as the mother of God amid challenges, can be a model for women in Africa who go through struggles including having “a lot of work to do.”


“Mary’s response to the Angel’s message is what gave us the confidence that no matter our status in life, we are all called to be servants of God,” he said, and added, “Catholics have an everyday responsibility to respond to God’s call because we are given an opportunity to do that.”

The Tanzanian-born Priest further said that in writing the book, he sought to clarify the place of Mary in the Church because in Africa, some Catholics confuse between “devotion to Mary” and the fact of adoring God.

Mary intercedes for us, Fr. Mrio emphasized during the May 18 event that was aired live on Capuchin Television, adding that the Blessed Virgin Mary is “full of grace because of her holiness; she is not the giver of grace.”

For us Christians, he said, graces are from God through Jesus Christ. 

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“It is important to note that as Catholics, we venerate Mary because she is our mother and mother of Christ. Just as God came to us through Mary, we can go back to Him through Mary,” the Priest who teaches Dogmatic Theology at the Kenya-based Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) explained.

In the 168-page book, Fr. Mrio explores the four dogmas about Mary, that is, Mary as Mother of God, her Perpetual Virginity (before, during and after the birth of Jesus), her Immaculate Conception, and her Assumption into Heaven.

He said that started the first manuscript to the book in 2006 when he noted the need to have some clarity about Mary among Seminarians, members of the Clergy, and the Religious.

“Major seminarians, Priests, Bishops, Religious men and Women and Sisters can benefit from this book. I have made recommendations in the book for it to be used as a set text in Major Seminaries and I hope it gets taken up,” Fr. Mrio said.


The book comes at a perfect time when the Church is responding to a call by the Pope for Catholics to spend the entire month of May praying the Rosary for an end to COVID-19 pandemic, the representative of the publisher, Paulines publications Africa, said during the launch.

“We are glad as a publication to take part in formation of a book that explains the role of Mary as the beginning of the church right from Pentecost,” Sr. Olga Massango, a member of the Pauline Sisters said, adding that the book adds to their catalogues of contemporary relevant books.

Through the book, Sr. Massango further said, the African culture is regenerated and respect for Mary as the mother of God is strengthened.

Speaking at the event, the Coordinator of Social Communication of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), Fr. Andrew Kaufa, said that the portrayal of Mary as “an ordinary woman” makes the content of the book quite relevant in Africa.

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“In our African societies, a woman is viewed as caring, loving and patient. She is a role model to many people in the society. This is exactly how Mary has been portrayed in the book,” the Malawian-born member of the Montfort Missionaries said.

Fr. Mrio has dedicated the book to his Priestly Silver Jubilee, which he celebrated last year.