The month of December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. This is the doctrine that states that from the moment of her conception, Mary was preserved, by God, from original sin. Pope Pius IX made this doctrine dogma (meaning as Catholics it is something we must believe) on December 8, 1854. This Marian feast is celebrated on December 8 each year and is one of the Church's Holy Days of Obligation.
It is fitting that this feast is celebrated during Advent as we prepare to celebrate Jesus' Incarnation. Mary was chosen by God to be His Mother from the very beginning. Let us look to her as an example of humility and holiness as we strive to bring Jesus others in our own corners of the world.
The following prayer was written by Pope John Paul II in honor of the Blessed Mother and her Immaculate Conception.
Immaculate Virgin, here I am at your feet once again,
full of devotion and gratitude.
I return to this historic Piazza di Spagna
on the solemn day of your feast
to pray for the beloved city of Rome,
for the Church, for the whole world.
In you, "humble and highest of creatures",
divine grace had the full victory over evil.
You are for us, pilgrims on the paths of the world,
the bright model of evangelical fidelity
and the ever-living pledge of sure hope.
Watch over, I pray you, the beloved Diocese of Rome:
over pastors and faithful, parishes and religious communities.
Watch over families especially:
may love sealed by the Sacrament ever reign between spouses,
may children walk on the paths of goodness and true freedom,
may the elderly feel surrounded by attention and affection.
Inspire, Mary, in so many young hearts,
generous replies to the "call for the mission",
a subject on which the diocese has
been reflecting over the years.
Thanks to an intense pastoral program for vocations,
may Rome be enriched by new young forces,
dedicated with enthusiasm to proclaiming the Gospel
in the city and in the world.
Assist those who through study
and prayer are preparing to labor
on the many frontiers of the new evangelization.
Today I entrust to you, in a special way,
the community of the Pontifical Urban College,
whose historic headquarters are located in front of this pillar.
May this wonderful institution founded 375 years ago
by Pope Urban VIII for the formation of missionaries,
be able to continue effectively its ecclesial service.
May those it gathers, seminarians and priests,
men and women religious and laity,
be ready to put their energies at the disposition
of Christ in service of the Gospel to the far corners of the globe.
Pray, O Mother, for all of us.
Pray for humanity for those who suffers poverty and injustice,
violence and hatred, terror and war.
Help us to contemplate with the rosary
the mysteries of Him who "is our peace",
so that we will all feel involved
in a persevering dedication of service to peace.
Look with special attention
upon the land in which you gave birth to Jesus,
a land that you loved together with Him,
and that is still so sorely tried today.
Pray for us, Mother of hope!
"Give us days of peace, watch over our way.
Let us see your Son as we rejoice in heaven". Amen!
Prayer by Pope John Paul II on the Second Sunday of Advent, 8 December 2002 . Given at Piazza di Spagna
For more prayers, click on the image for December Devotions on the left sidebar.
You can read more of the history of this feast here.