A Marian procession of devotees dressed mostly in white parade around the old walled city of Intramuros in Manila to mark the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. (Photo: Angie de Silva)
Saint Anne, in her old age, gave birth to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Overjoyed, she vowed to dedicate her child to the service of God. An extraordinary daughter, Mary was born free from original sin. She is known as the Immaculate Conception.
The sacred day of the Immaculate Conception of the Queen of Heaven on Dec. 8 comes and goes unnoticed by many Catholics. Only churches, religious congregations and Catholic schools remember.
Fortunately, the Philippine House of Representatives enacted Republic Act No. 10966 declaring Dec. 8 a special non-working holiday across the entire country to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the principal patroness of the Philippines.
The Immaculate Conception is a sacred dogma of the Church. From the moment of her conception, Mary, by the merit of God, was free from all the stains of original sin.
Pope Piux lX wrote a papal bull, Ineffabilis Deus, declaring the Divine Maternity. Mary is free from all taint of original sin. She triumphs over the serpent.
Unfathomable, this belief is being frowned upon by many who refuse to understand it. Be that as it may, the Catholic Church remains steadfast in standing by one of its important truths.
From every kind of injustice in the life of society, deliver us. From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us
In a circular last month, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) announced that its president, Bishop Pablo Virgilio S. David, would lead the Rosary and the Act of Consecration of Families to St. Joseph at the Cathedral of San Roque in Kalookan Diocese on Dec. 8. Joining him would be representatives of families in his diocese.
The CBCP prepared an Act of Consecration, to wit: “Mother of our people, we rejoice in the name, Pueblo Amante de Maria ... You know all our sufferings and our hopes, you who have a mother’s awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, which afflict the world today.
"From every kind of injustice in the life of society, deliver us. From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.
"With grateful hearts, we recognize you as a great gift of God to us to be our companion, teacher, model and protector in this Jubilee year. We come to you to consecrate our families and our homes. With fatherly love and care, you provided and built the life of the Holy Family at Nazareth …”
In a chat conversation, Columban Father John Leydon reflected: “Mary is a prefigure of who we are called to be … humanity living in total harmony with the blessed will of the Father ... 'Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, that is, free from the effects of original sin'.”
When I was a little girl, my mother and I used to attend Mass in honor of Mama Mary every Dec. 8. The Immaculate Conception is the patron saint of the Sogod (Southern Leyte) Parish. The dainty image of the Blessed Virgin on our altar is vivid in my mind. With the pandemic, this is the third year that I will miss attending our annual feast.
As we may remember, Mother Mary is the epitome of justice. In her Magnificat, she proclaimed: "He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty."
In a country marred by dire poverty, with almost innumerable victims of drug-related extrajudicial executions and undocumented enforced disappearances perpetrated by the Duterte regime, with merciless violations of the 5th Commandment — “Thou Shall Not Kill" — let us kneel in supplication to pray to the Blessed Mother to intervene for the hapless victims.
As we commemorate this Holy Day, let us adore God, atone for our sins and thank Him for all His blessings.
“Hail Mary Full of Grace …” Our Lady's intercession will lead us not into temptation. The fastest way to Jesus is through Mary. Amen.
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