Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110

Holy Days of Obligation

Feast of The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary ~ December 8

The Immaculate Conception is, according to Roman Catholic Dogma, the conception of the Virgin Mary without any stain ("macula" in Latin) of original sin. Under this aspect Mary is sometimes called the Immaculata (the Immaculate One), particularly in artistic contexts.

The dogma says that, from the first moment of her existence, she was preserved by God from the lack of sanctifying grace that afflicts mankind, and that she was instead filled with divine grace. It is further believed that she lived a life completely free from sin. Her immaculate conception in the womb of her mother, through sexual relations, should not be confused with the doctrine of the virginal conception of her son Jesus.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated on 8 December, was established as a universal feast in 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV. He did not define the doctrine as a dogma, thus leaving Roman Catholics freedom to believe in it or not without being accused of heresy; this freedom was reiterated by the Council of Trent. The existence of the feast was a strong indication of the Church's belief in the Immaculate Conception, even before its 19th century definition as a dogma.

In the Catholic Church, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation, except where conferences of bishops have decided, with the approval of the Holy See, not to maintain it as such. It is a public holiday in some countries where Roman Catholicism is predominant.

The Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined as a dogma by Pope Pius IX in his constitution Ineffabilis Deus on  December 8,1854. The Catholic Church believes that the dogma is supported by Scripture (e.g., Mary's being greeted by the Angel Gabriel as "full of grace") as well as either directly or indirectly by the writings of Church Fathers such as Irenaeus of Lyons and Ambrose of Milan. Catholic theology maintains that since Jesus became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, it was fitting that she be completely free of sin for expressing her fiat.

Previous Holy Day                      Next Holy Day

News & Events ~ Closings & Vacations ~ Calendars ~ Our CCD Staff ~ Guidelines, Policies & Registration
Door Monitor Schedule ~ Protecting God's Children ~ Mission Statement & Curriculum ~ Our Church ~ Children's Mass
First Penance ~ First Communion ~ Confirmation ~ Birthdays! ~ Prayers ~ The Beatitudes ~ Sacraments ~ Who Is St. Brigid
The Rosary, Scapular and Medals ~ The Ten Commandments ~ The Apostles ~ List of Popes
Saints of the Liturgical Calendar ~ Holy Days of Obligation ~ Stations of The Cross ~ Contact Us ~ Home