The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother is this Friday, 8 December. It is a Holy Day of Obligation. Masses will be celebrated on Friday, 8 December at 8:30 a.m. at Notre Dame de Lourdes (with the school students attending) and at 6:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Peace.
The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception expresses the Church’s belief that Mary as the chosen Mother of the Christ, was from the very first moment of her existence, kept free from any stain of sin. Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution from the Second Vatican Council, addresses the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” (LG 56). Pope Pius IX (9th) further explains: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.” (Ineffabilis Deus). The Eucharistic Preface for the Solemnity states: “For you preserved the most Blessed Virgin Mary from all stain of original sin, so that in her, endowed with the rich fullness of your grace, you might prepare a worthy Mother for your Son and signify the beginning of the Church, his beautiful Bride without spot or wrinkle. She, the most pure Virgin, was to bring forth a Son, the innocent Lamb who would wipe away our offenses; you placed her above all others to be for your people an advocate of grace and a model of holiness.
And we pray…O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son, grant, we pray, that, as you preserved her from every stain by virtue of the Death of your Son, which you foresaw, so, through her intercession, we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence. Amen.
This is the First Sunday of Advent. It is a short Advent season with the Fourth Sunday of Advent falling on Christmas Eve. The season of Advent begins with our preparedness for the second coming of Christ, and as the days of the season grow shorter, we anticipate the first coming of Christ, his Incarnation at Christmas. Advent Wreaths and Advent Calendars are appropriate practices to mark the season.
The colors of the Advent season are violet and rose. The three violet color candles on the Advent Wreath represent penance, hope, and anticipation. The single rose-colored candle symbolizes joy. The following is a prayer of blessing for your Advent Wreath.
Lord our God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ: he is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples, he is the wisdom that teaches and guides us, he is the Savior of every nation. Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we light the candles of this wreath. May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation. May he come quickly and not delay. O come, desire of nations, bind in the hearts of humankind; bid every sad division cease and be thyself our Prince of Peace. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
Advent also signals the beginning of another Liturgical Year. Beginning in January 2024 the following changes will be made to our Mass schedule. The Thursday morning Mass will be moved from Notre Dame de Lourdes to Our Lady of Peace, the Friday morning Mass will be at Notre Dame. The times remains at 8:30 for both preceded by 8:10 Morning Prayer. The Sunday Mass at Notre Dame de Lourdes will be switched from 10:00 to 9:30. This way all the parish Masses will begin in the half-hour, and it will offer consistency of the length between Masses and enhance opportunities for social gatherings between our Sunday liturgies.
Weekdays: 8:30 a.m.: Monday – Thursday at Our Lady of Peace; Friday and Saturday at Notre Dame
Weekends: Saturday Vigil 4:30 p.m. (OLP); Sunday 7:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m. (OLP); 9:30 a.m. (ND)