Friday, December 7, 2012


Giambattista Tiepolo  1767

Today we celebrate the 1st Vespers of OUR LADY of the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.
The Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Catholic Church maintaining that from the moment when she was conceived the Blessed Virgin Mary was kept free of original sin and was filled with the sanctifying grace normally conferred during baptism. It is one of the four dogmas in Roman Catholic Mariology. Mary is often called the Immaculata (the Immaculate One), particularly in artistic and cultural contexts.

Francisco Zurbaran  1628
Diego Velazquez  1618
The Immaculate Conception should not be confused with the perpetual virginity of Mary or the virgin birth of Jesus; it refers to the conception of Mary by her mother, Saint Anne. Although the belief was widely held since at least Late Antiquity, the doctrine was not formally proclaimed until December 8, 1854, by Pope Pius IX in his papal bull Ineffabilis Deus. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is observed on December 8 in many Catholic countries as a Holy Day of Obligation and in some places as a national or public holiday.

Mary Immaculate was officially declared the patroness of the United States in 1847. A year earlier, the U.S. bishops had written to the Catholics of this country: We take this occasion to communicate to you the determination, unanimously  adopted by us, to place ourselves and all entrusted to our charge throughout the United States under the special patronage of the holy Mother of God, whose Immaculate Conception is venerated by the piety of the faithful throughout the Catholic Church. By the aid of her prayers, we entertain the confident hope that we will be strengthened to perform the arduous duties of our ministry, and that you will be enabled to practice the sublime virtues, of which her life presents the most  perfect example.

Carlo  Crivelli  1492

For us it is a major holy day celebrating a beautiful Liturgy and Mass, and a holiday with no work and celebrating MM Grace's birthday.

St. Anne conceiving, J. Bellegambe (d.1536)

Many well-known artists have presented us with magnificent works based on this mystery of Our Mother Mary.

Bartolome Murillo 1676

F. Smuglewicz- Polish-Lithuanian  (d. 1807)
Poesia- California  2012

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