I’ve heard that Catholics worship Mary, it’s this true?

No, this is not true. Catholics honor (or venerate) the Blessed Mother; they do not worship her. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (the official teaching of the Church) teaches that worship (or adoration) is meant for God alone. Catholics as well as the Orthodox and some older Protestant groups venerate Mary and the Saints.  Mary is venerated because she is full of God’s own life and love, his Grace (Luke 1:28). Mary, by her own free will said yes to God’s will and brought the Savior of humanity, Jesus Christ, into the World. Mary is great because God made her great, she reflects the light of Christ and her soul magnifies the Lord (Luke 1:46). This is why since the earliest days of Christianity, Mary has been venerated and loved by Christians.

As said above, adoration or worship (latria) is meant only for God, but veneration is meant for Mary and the Saints. Since Mary, by her own free will, brought our Savior into the world she deserves a unique type of veneration that is greater then that of the other Saints. Veneration is divided into two categories: dulia and hyperdulia. Dulia is a form of veneration that is appropriate for the great Christian men and women known as the Saints (ex. St. Anthony, St. Teresa, St. Francis, etc). Due to Mary’s direct and extraordinary role in the salvation of humanity, it is appropriate that she is venerated in a greater manner then that of the other saints, this is called hyperdulia.

Remember veneration, and this particular type of veneration, hyperdulia, is completely different from adoration or worship (latria). Christ is the center of Catholic Christian worship. The honor and veneration given to Mary further expresses the Christian’s worship of God due to the acknowledgement of God’s greatest human creation, the mother of his son, Our Blessed Mother Mary.  The 4th commandment reads, “Honor your father and your mother”. In John 19:26-27 Jesus hanging on the cross extended Mary’s motherhood to all of humanity by handing her over to the care of the Apostle John. Since early on in Christianity the above verses were understood to mean that Mary now is the mother of all humanity. Since Mary is our mother we should give her the proper respect and honor, as any child would give his mother.

Finally why would a Christian not have love and respect for Mary? She is Jesus’ mother. Many protestant groups pay little or no attention to the Mother of God. Some groups even go as far as saying that she was just a vessel to give birth to Jesus; that she’s not important! Imagine going up to your own mother and saying “Mom, your not that important you were just a vessel used to give birth to me,” how would this make her feel? The same goes for the Mother of God, even more so because she is the Mother of God and our Mother, The Holy Spirit deemed her  “most blessed amongst women” (Luke 1:42). How can some Christian groups say they love Jesus but then be indifferent to his mother? I don’t think Jesus would be very happy.