Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception

December Eighth is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Catholic Church. This feast day celebrates the solemn belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

It is celebrated on December Eighth, nine months before the feast of the Nativity of Mary which is celebrated on September Eighth. Among the Marian feasts celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church’s Liturgical Calendar, it is considered one of the most important.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception was solemnized as a Holy Day of Obligation on December 6, 1708 under the Papal Bull Commissi Nobis Divinitus by Pope Clement XI. In many Catholic countries, the feast day is also considered a Family Day.


Abrogating Holy Days of Obligation

When I was growing up, Holy Days of Obligation were celebrated on the assigned day and if it fell on a week day, people managed to attend Mass, as they should, and didn’t bemoan the fact that life was so inconsiderate as to intrude on their busy work week with a trip to the church, a hour’s worth of Mass, and a sermon.

Abrogating the Holy Days seems to be a given in our current day and age. When they made Ascension

Thursday a Sunday celebration, I knew the stamina of the Catholic soul was, perhaps, in serious danger. I don’t think the hierarchy that comes up with these changes has ever dealt with children. From my own experience, I know that the minute I give in on a rule or request, the children are not so much grateful but busy considering their next inroad into my disciplinary rules. With that thought in mind, my husband once came up with his own bit of satire on the subject:

Monday Holy Days
Report of the Holy Day Sub-Sub-Committee of the Mass Schedule Sub-Committee of the Liturgy Committee of the National Conference Bored of the U.S. Catholic Deacons.

Due to the success of moving  Holy Days to Sundays in some parts of the U.S., we the above sub-sub-committee propose the following: That all Holy Days which fall on Mondays be moved to the previous Sunday in zip codes ending in odd numbers, and that all Holy Days which fall on Mondays be moved to the next Sunday in zip codes ending in even numbers. Parishes which have zip codes ending in zero will be required to hold annual ballots on December 31 in which the parishioners will decide for the forthcoming year whether they will celebrate the Holy Days on the previous or following Sunday.

In the spirit of democracy and lay participation, all Bishops will be required to allow any parish which wishes to vote on whether to accept the odd/even zip code designation or to chose the Sunday of their own choice. Parishes which wish to celebrate the Holy Day on the actual feast day will need a two thirds majority of the ballots, a petition signed by 75% of the registered parishioners, baptismal certificates for 50% plus one of the registered parishioners, and first communion and confirmation certificates for at least 45% of the registered parishioners. In addition the pastor, associate pastors, deacons, Eucharistic ministers, lectors, catechists, and janitors must sign an affirmation of loyalty to the Spirit of Vatican II.