Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary falls on Thursday
Thursday, Dec. 8, is a holy day of obligation for Catholics in the United States -- a day on which the faithful are required by canon law to participate in the Mass. On Thursday, we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In the papal bull Ineffabilis Dei, issued on Dec. 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX said: “We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, was preserved free from every stain of original sin is a doctrine revealed by God and, for this reason, must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.” The Feast of the Immaculate Conception should not be mistaken for the Annunciation of Mary, which is observed in March to mark the announcement to the Blessed Virgin by the Archangel Gabriel that she would conceive Jesus. Check your local parish for Mass times.