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The Immaculate Conception of Mary

Solemnity - 8th December

Pope Francis' prayers & words in: 2016, 2015 (the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy), 2014 & 2013
Papa Benedict XVI's prayers & words in: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 & 2005
St John Paul II's prayers & words: in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1994, 1992 & 1978

On 8 December 1854, Pius IX pronounced and solemnly sanctioned "that the doctrine, which holds that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary at the first moment of her conception was, by singular grace and privilege of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the Human race, preserved from all stains of original sin, is revealed by God, and therefore to be firmly and resolutely believed by all the faithful." (Dogmatic bull Ineffabilis Deus).

Since 1856, the tradition has been for the Pope to go to Piazza di Spagna to pray at the foot of the statue of Our Lady, erected in celebration of this great feast day. The beautiful prayers said by JPII & BXVI in the years 2001-2010 are included in Totus2us's Novena to Mary Immaculate. In 1904 Saint Pius X wrote the encyclical, Ad diem illum laetissimum, on the Immacualte Conception. In 1953 Pius XII wrote the encyclical, Fulgens Corona, proclaiming a Marian Year to commemorate the centenary of the definition of the dogma.

Since 1967, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception the Holy Father has given his Message for the World Day of Peace each year.

3 2us by Monsignor Leo Maasburg       
"Mary is the entrance door and also at the same time the symbol and the aim, the fulfilment and the example for that unique holiness to which all humankind is called. God has somehow promised in that vocation which He gave to Our Lady that He will lead the whole of humankind to that holiness. Our Lady in Lourdes calls herself "I am the Immaculate Conception". We know that in baptism, which is symbolised by the waters in Lourdes, we are called to follow her into that holiness, into that complete cleanliness in front of God; and humankind will not find its peace unless it is clean, unless it is holy whole."

3 2us by Father John Edwards SJ       
"It took a long time for the Church to work out how the Immaculate Conception could have happened. (After all, Our Lady was redeemed like all of us, but how could Jesus have redeemed her before as man he existed?) Heaven took a hand in nudging the Church towards the right conclusion, especially when it was given the Miraculous Medal in 1831 ('Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.') At last in 1854 the Church was clear enough in its mind to define the doctrine, & say that rightly understood you could work it out from Scripture. And then heaven intervened again. At Lourdes in 1858 Our Lady said “I AM the Immaculate Conception.”

Gina, from the Philippines        
"I am very devoted to Mother Mary because I believe she is the Immaculate Conception and she is the purest Mother and she is the mother of our Jesus Christ. So I believe that if I pray with her, to her, all my prayers will be answered because she is the closest to Jesus."