Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Immaculate Conception - Holy Day of Obligation - December 8, 2006

Giotto: Anna and Joachim meet at the Golden GateThe Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady is only 151 years old. This teaching professes that from the moment of Mary’s conception, she was free from original sin, preparing her to become the Mother of God, the “God-Bearer” or Theotokos. (Don't forget that the Immaculate Conception is about Mary being conceived from the union of her parents, Anna and Joachim.)

What this dogma teaches us is that all of God’s children are destined to be free from sin and bearers of the divine, for everything that happens to Mary is our destiny as well. Mary is the first of all disciples and the first to taste the fullness of what Jesus’ incarnation, resurrection, and ascension promise us. In a way, Mary shows us what our Advent waiting will transform us into—persons fully alive and open to God.

In 2004, on the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of this dogma, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offered four announcements to be used in parish bulletins about the Immaculate Conception. You can find them here.

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