The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – 8th December The dogma of the Immaculate Conception holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free from Original Sin from the very moment of her conception. The Immaculate Conception of Mary is often confused with the virginal conception of Jesus. The feast was first approved by Pope Sixtus IV in 1476.
In 1830 St Catherine Laboure experienced a vision in which she saw Our Lady standing on a globe with rays of light emanating from her hands. The vision was surrounded by an oval frame on which were the words ‘Oh Mary conceived without sin pray for us who have recourse to thee.’
In 1854, Pius IX solemnly decreed that ‘the most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by the singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin. That is revealed by God and therefore firmly and constantly to be believed by all the faithful.’
Just four years later, in Lourdes, the 14 year old St Bernadette, who had very little education and would have know nothing of papal statements, began to experience a series of apparitions of ‘a lady’, When she asked her name, the Lady replied: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
Saint Bernard wrote of Mary: “If you follow her you do not stray; if you think of her your mind does not err; if you ask of her, you will not be disappointed; if you cling to her, you will not fall. If she be with you, all is well, and you will realise the truth of the words ‘the name of the virgin was Mary.
Taize hymns used at Prayer Hour for Peace and Refugees
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est – click here to listen
(Where there is charity and love, God is truly there)
Oh Lord hear my prayer – click here to listen
In the booklet “Called to be a People of Hope” the following guiding principle was proposed ……
“We believe each person possess a basic dignity that comes from God, not from any human quality or accomplishment, not from race or gender, age or economic status. The test therefore of any institution is whether it enhances or threatens human dignity”
Perhaps we should assess ourselves and our parish against this guiding principle!
To this end the “Called to be a People of Hope” prayer is ....
“God our father open the horizons of our minds and hearts so that we can see what hope your call holds for us. Pour out the overflowing gifts of your Spirit so that we, your Church, may become a people of hope for our world. We ask you this, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
Our Lady, Woman of Hope, pray for us
St Peter, Rock of Hope, pray for us
St Paul, Apostle of Hope, pray for us”
For more information on the “Called to be a People oh Hope” initiative click here http://www.cliftondiocese.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/called-to-be-a-people-of-hope.pdf