A blessed Advent to you! We continue in Advent with the celebration of the 2nd Sunday in Advent on Dec. 8. The feast of the Immaculate Conception has moved to Monday, Dec. 9, but it is not a Holy Day of Obligation.
But why does it change days and why is it no longer a Holy Day of Obligation? You may know that each Sunday is already a Holy Day of Obligation. So each Sunday Solemnity is, in a real way, a celebration of Easter. Each week we celebrate our faith with remembrance and worship of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. Each week we are obliged to come to worship and thank God at Mass.
So, when the traditional day or feast day falls on the same day – Easter is more important. When the feast day is moved, the Bishops in the United States no longer require the Catholic faithful to observe it as a Holy Day of Obligation.
The Immaculate Conception was originally promulgated in 1854 with the following from Pope Pius IX, with the support of the overwhelming majority of Roman Catholic bishops, whom he had consulted between 1851–1853, promulgated the papal bull Ineffabilis Deus (Latin for “Ineffable God”), which defined ex cathedra the dogma of the Immaculate Conception: “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”
The beauty of this feast day is a completion of the plan of God – Mary as the Mother of God is a pure vessel for Jesus. It is fitting that we celebrate her pureness as we wait for Christ to come.
Please come and celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with Mass at 9 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 9. Obligation or no obligation, we can approach Jesus through Mary. We can ask for all the grace that is offered from Jesus through our Blessed Mother’s “Yes”!
~ Dave Braun, Director of Apostolates