Our preparations for Christmas always include Mary, the Mother of God. Today’s feast celebrates her conception free from sin, a miracle that displays God’s power for believers. We worship God, for whom everything is posssible.
Alternative Opening Prayer (from 1998 ICEL Missal)
God most high,
from the first moment of her conception
you favoured the Virgin Mary with your grace,
that she might become the mother of the world’s Redeemer.
As you blessed the daughter of Israel,
so grant us the grace
to be fully engaged in your service,
eager to do your will.
Hasten that day of gladness
when you will bring to completion your saving work,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Introduction to the Scripture Readings
Genesis 3:9-15, 20 — The story of Adam and Eve illustrates some of the consequences of sin, including alienation and hatred. Mary’s life displays the consequences of faith; she is called ‘the new Eve’
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12 — The author praises God, who chose all people to be holy and spotless, characteristics we see especially clearly in Mary.
Luke 1:26-38 — Describes the conception of Jesus, which was made possible by Mary’s role in God’s plan.
Introduction (by the Presider) Let us pray to God, who has brought salvation to all the world.
- For the Church, that Christians may do God’s will cheerfully, as Mary did (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For people who feel unimportant, that they may realise their role in God’s plan for the world (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For women unable to conceive, that they may rely on the power of God who makes the impossible possible (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For all children, born and unborn, that they may be loved as warmly as Mary’s own child Jesus (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
The Presider prays for the faithful departed: For God’s chosen ones who have died (especially N and N), that they may find a home in heaven, with Our Lady and the saints (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
Conclusion (by the Presider) O God, salvation of the earth, your power is seen in the lives of your people: continue to support us with your grace, we pray, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PREFACE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY
It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
You allowed no trace of original sin to touch the Virgin Mary.
Full of grace, she was to be a worthy mother of your Son
and prefigure the beginning of the Church,
the fair Bride of Christ, without spot or wrinkle.
Purest of virgins, she was to bring forth your Son,
the innocent Lamb who takes away our sins.
You chose Mary before all others
to be our gracious advocate and our pattern of holiness.
And so we join the multitude of angels
in their joyful chorus of praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
SOLEMN BLESSING (THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY — from 1998 ICEL Missal)
After the greeting of the priest, the deacon or, if there is no deacon, the priest
may say the following invitation or similar words.
Bow your heads for God’s blessing.
The priest says the solemn blessing with hands outstretched over the people.
May God, who through the child born of the Virgin Mary
graciously redeemed the human race,
enrich you with every blessing.
May you always rejoice in the loving protection of Mary,
through whom you have received the author of life.
May you who are gathered to honour the feast of our Lady
take from this celebration
the joys of the spirit and the gifts of heaven.
The priest concludes, using one of the following forms of blessing.
A May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit.
B May the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit,
come upon you and remain with you for ever.
SONGS AT MASS (Suggestions) ‘When Creation Was Begun’; ‘Sing A New Song Unto the Lord’; any version of the Magnificat.