Joy, however, is mixed into the season. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated today and whilst it is a Holy Day of Obligation in many places as prescribed in the General Calendar, in England and Wales sadly it is not ranked as such.
Most Catholics accepted that Mary was born free of Original Sin from the beginning of the Church. With the doubts created by Modernism and sceptics, Pope Pius IX declared ex cathedra, on December 8, 1854, officially and from the throne, that Mary was conceived without Original Sin and bound all believing Catholics, under pain of sin, to accept the doctrine proclaimed. The feast fits in perfectly with the season of Advent for as we prepare for Christ, we honour the most pure vessel in which He chose to reside as a helpless infant.
preserved from original sin, look in
pity upon our separated brethren
who are thy children also and call
them back to the center of unity.
Although separated from the
Church, some have kept a certain
veneration for thee. Reward them by
obtaining for them the grace of
conversion. Thou conquered the
infernal serpent from the first moment
of thy existence. Now, glorify
thy Divine Son and bring back to
him the straying sheep. Destroy all
heresies and bring peace once more
to the Christian people. Amen.