jesus and mary

Worldwide, Catholics, who already observe the first week of the Advent season, mark the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 8, a day that signifies the conception of the Virgin Mary in the womb of St. Anne, her mother. According to Friar Cassidy Stinson, a priest of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Immaculate Conception is one of the most beautiful yet frequently misunderstood doctrines.

He added that this feast day celebrates the thought that Mary, Jesus’s mother, was prepared for her special and unique role as the Mother of God by the gift of being protected and redeemed at the time of her conception from the effects of original sin, which we typically inherit from our parents. Many people assume that the “immaculate conception” refers to Jesus’ conception, but Stinson said that’s not the case. He said this doctrine is often confused with an event that’s more familiar to us: the conception of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Annunciation.

What is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception?

The Annunciation is celebrated nine months before Christmas on Mar. 25. While the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception focuses on Mary, Stinson says that, like everything that the Catholic Church celebrates about Mary, at its core, it always leads us back to her son, Jesus. Francis Vu, the content lead at the Christian prayer app Hallow, told Fox News Digital that Christians believe that Jesus is fully human and God and that He received His bodily flesh from Mary. It follows that Jesus would take on humanity from someone who is sinless.

In the United States and a handful of other countries, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a holy day of obligation. Catholics are required to attend Mass on that date or a vigil Mass the evening before, according to the website for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In some parts of Europe and many countries in South and Central America, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is also a public holiday. The Marian title of “Immaculate Conception” is significant for American Catholics.

The history of the Immaculate Conception in the United States.

The bishops of the United States unanimously declared the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her designation of the Immaculate Conception, as the patroness of the United States in 1846, according to the website of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is situated in Washington, D.C., near the campus of the Catholic University of America. It’s the largest Catholic church in North America, and the shrine is known as “America’s Catholic Church.”

The U.S. bishops’ declaration came eight years before the Vatican officially defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. In 1854, Pope Pius IX issued an apolistic constitution called “Ineffabilis Deus, which declared that Mary was immaculately conceived without sin. However, this wasn’t the first time that Mary’s immaculate conception was taught. According to Vu, Christians have been honoring Mary under her designation of the Immaculate Conception for centuries. There are records as early as the 7th and 8th centuries showing this widely held belief in the Catholic Church.

Why celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception?

The timing of the solemnity, which is during the liturgical Advent season, is a reminder to Christians that God always wants a deep friendship with us. Like with Mary, God wants to make us holy and live intimately within us. He gives us the grace to say ‘yes’ to Him, like Mary did, and receive Him in our hearts. The Immaculate Conception, as well as any other Marian celebration, doesn’t overshadow God, but it points to the power of God’s salvation and its effect on humanity. Mary is for all Christians, not only Catholic Christians, and this relationship doesn’t take away from our devotion to God.

Mary is a revered woman in Christianity and Catholicism. As a young girl, she learned that she would give birth to baby Jesus, the One who would be sacrificed for our sins. She may have been scared, but she accepted this responsibility with dignity. Most people believe the Immaculate Conception refers to Jesus’ birth, but it actually refers to Mary’s birth, as she would carry the Savior in her womb. Mary should be celebrated as much as Jesus because if we didn’t have her, then we wouldn’t have Him.

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