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Immaculate Conception of Mary (December 8)

This solemn feast of Mary's Immaculate Conception, celebrated nine months before the feast of her birth (September 8), recalls the Christian belief that Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin from the moment of her conception by her mother, Ann. Because of her unique role as the mother of Jesus Christ, God endowed her with special graces and gifts. Like a new Eve, she brought new life to the world through her Divine Son. The feast is also a reminder that the whole Church shares in Mary's privileges in some way. For this reason the feast day prayer asks God to "trace in our actions the lines of her love, in our hearts her readiness of faith." The bishops of the United States, with firm belief in Mary's intercession, confided their new nation to her care under the title of her Immaculate Conception.