Mass Times for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Mary and Joachim and AnneWhat: Masses for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

When: 7:00 PM Thursday, December 7, 2017 (bilingual liturgy in English and Spanish) and 8:30 AM Friday, December 8, 2017

Where: Worship Center

The solemnity of the Immaculate Conception celebrates a very ancient belief and dogma (faithful teaching) of the church about Mary being free from sin from the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother (St. Anne). The dogma was officially defined in 1854 by Pope Pius IX, though it had been celebrated in many places for centuries, starting in Syria in the 5th century.

This feast has special significance for American Catholics since Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, is the patron of the United States of America. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D. C. is America’s Catholic Church dedicated to Mary under this title.

In this feast we celebrate the goodness of a life created in the image of God -- a life that was filled with the grace of Christ from the very beginning of her life. As Christians, we have access to this marvelous grace through our baptism in Christ, the son of Mary. In the liturgy of this feast we are assured that just as God had a plan of redemption for Mary, God has a similar plan for each and everyone born into this world. Let us be open to the grace of God’s plan by our listening to God’s voice and honoring that grace in all whom we meet. Let us, like Mary, be people who hear the word of God and keep it with joy (Luke 11: 18).

Readings for the day:

  • Gn 3: 9-15.20. The story of sin is as old as humankind. It begins with the experience of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden related in this reading. The experience of sin makes people feel ashamed. It also makes people deny their responsibility for sin and place the blame on other people or things outside themselves. It has consequences in how we feel about ourselves and how we relate to others and to God. This reading speaks about the original sin that underlies all the other types of sins. Because of Mary’s role as Mother of Christ, she is understood as free of the human condition of original sin that the rest of us bear.
  • Eph 1: 3-6.11-12. The plan of God has always been to remedy the effects of sin. “God chose us in Christ, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish in God’s sight.” This plan reached it fullness in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This is the grace that frees us from sin. This is the grace that was granted to Mary at her conception in the womb of her mother.
  • Lk 21: 25-28.34-36. Mary is greeted by the angel as the woman who is “full of grace,” someone to whom God is present in a special way. This grace made Mary fully capable and worthy to be the mother of God. She is the first Christian because she so perfectly heard the word of God and put it into practice. Mary said, “I am God’s servant, may it happen to me according to your word.”