Immaculate Conception

Despite the fact that this year, December 8th falls on a Saturday, the feast of the Immaculate Conception remains a Holy Day of Obligation.  This is because Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, i­­­­­­­­­s the Patroness of the United States.  In the time frame, from Friday, December 7, to Sunday, December 9, we are obligated to attend two separate Masses for two distinct obligations: We are obligated to attend one Mass, in order to fulfill our obligation for the Holy Day (The Immaculate Conception), as well as another Mass, in order to fulfill our Sunday obligation (The Second Sunday of Advent).
To clarify which Masses will be for the Immaculate Conception, and which will be for the Second Sunday of Advent:

  • Friday, December 7 (at 4 p.m. or after) - Saturday, December 8 (before 4 p.m.): The Immaculate Conception
  • Saturday, December 8 (at 4 p.m. or after) - Sunday, December 9 (all day): The Second Sunday of Advent

December 8

Stained glass image of Immaculate Conception from St. Joseph Lake LindenDeclared dogma in 1854 by Pope Pius IX, this Holy Day of Obligation commemorates St. Mary being concieved without the stain of original sin. Being filled with grace, unbroken by sin, Mary was preserved from the moment of her conception to be the   mother of the Savior, Jesus Christ. The Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States of America. The National Basilica is dedicated to her in Washington D.C.  

Pope Pius X, on the 50th anniversary of this feast, wrote his encyclical Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum, a worthy read and very loving document which can be found on the Vatican website. From the encyclical:

"For can anyone fail to see that there is no surer or more direct road than by Mary for uniting all mankind in Christ and obtaining through Him the perfect adoption of sons, that we may be holy and immaculate in the sight of God?"


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