Today, December 8th, is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This is the feast which celebrates that Mary was born without any mark of sin and committed no sins in her life. This has been a part of the Church’s teaching since ancient times, but has found a clearer articulation in 1854 Pope Pius IX published the document Ineffabilis Deus in which he declared the following dogma of the faith:
“…by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful. Hence, if anyone shall dare — which God forbid! — to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.”
Our parish also contains the church of the Immaculate Conception at Narberth where Mass was celebrated today, exactly 31 years after the opening of the church!