“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Lk 1: 28).
On December 8, we honor Mary, our Mother. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a Catholic feast celebrating Mary's conception without sin. Even though this feast day occurs in the liturgical season of Advent, which prepares for the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother, St. Anne.
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception asserts that honor "from the first moment of her conception, the Blessed Virgin Mary was, by the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of Mankind kept free from all stain of original sin."
Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma in 1854, four years before the “Beautiful Lady” of Massabielle introduced herself to Bernadette Soubirous on 25th March 1858 when she said, “Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou.” (I am the Immaculate Conception)
Prayer of Saint John Paul II in front of the statue of the Immaculate Conception, on 8 December 2004, on the closing of the 150 years of Dogma.
Immaculate Virgin! Once again we are here to honor you, at the foot of this column from which you lovingly watch over Rome and the whole world, ever since, 150 years ago, Blessed Pius IX proclaimed as a truth of the Catholic faith your preservation from every stain of sin in anticipation of the death and Resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ.
Immaculate Virgin! Your spotless spiritual beauty is for us a living source of confidence and hope. To have you as Mother, Holy Virgin, reassures us on the path of life as a pledge of eternal salvation. Because of this, O Mary, we have recourse to you with confidence. Help us to build a world where human life is always cherished and defended, every form of violence banished, the peace of all tenaciously sought.
In this Year of the Eucharist, grant that we may celebrate and adore with renewed faith and ardent love the holy mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ. At your school, O Woman of the Eucharist, teach us to remember the marvels that God never ceases to work in human hearts. With motherly tenderness, Virgin Mary, guide our steps always on the path of good.