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Who is the Immaculate Conception?

Hint: It’s Not Jesus

Mary, the Mother of God

Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Dec. 8

Claim to fame: The mother of God, mother of Jesus, wife of St. Joseph and greatest of all Christian saints.

What made her a saint: Mary’s life and her role in the history of salvation is prefigured in the Old Testament, while the events of her life are recorded in the New Testament. The archangel Gabriel appeared to her and asked her to become the mother of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Her “yes” is a model of trust and faith. When her cousin Elizabeth acknowledged Mary as the mother of God, Mary burst forth into the Magnificat. Mary was at the foot of the cross when Jesus died, and was present in the upper room with the apostles when the Holy Spirit descended on all of them.

Best quote: Jesus performed his first miracle at Cana in response to his mother’s request. Her words, “Do as he commands,” have meaning for all Christians as they walk their faith journeys.

How she died: No scriptural reference concerns Mary’s last years on earth. According to one tradition, she went to Ephesus; another tradition states that she remained in Jerusalem. The belief that Mary’s body was assumed into heaven is one of the oldest in the church. Pope Pius XII declared this belief to be Catholic dogma in 1950. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, that Mary was free of original sin at the moment of her conception, was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854.

Prayer: Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! Our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus; O clement, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.