Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary

Most Christians believe there’s something special about Mary, the Mother of Jesus. December 8 is the celebration of Mary’s “Immaculate Conception.” Roman Catholics, in particular, are particularly serious about the Day, even though the celebration this year is delayed a day.

Most denominations of Christianity disagree about the status of the Virgin Mary. Since 1854 the Virgin Birth of Mary (not only of Jesus) has been part of the dogma of the Catholic Church.

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Blessed Pope Pius IX proclaimed on December 8, 1854: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.”

The belief that Mary was born a virgin goes back much, much further.

Pope Pius IX declared the celebration to be on December 8 … unless the 8th falls on a Sunday when there is already a Mass to be celebrated. In that case, it’s celebrated the next day, December 9.

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