BACKGROUND: This feast had its origin in the East as the “Conception of Mary by St Anne.” It spread through the West during the Middle Ages as the “Immaculate Conception” and was extended to the entire Western Church in the eighteenth century. The feast celebrates Mary, preserved from sin from the moment of conception; she is the first-fruits of her Son’s redemption and a prophetic model of what the Church is called to be.
Songs for today
‘When Creation Was Begun’; ‘Sing A New Song Unto the Lord’; any version of the Magnificat; Lourdes ‘Ave’.
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.
As we prepare to honour Mary, who was preserved sinless by the Lord, let us call to mind our sins (pause)
Lord Jesus, you are mighty God and Prince of Peace: Lord, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you are Son of God and Son of Mary: Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you are Word made flesh and splendour of the Father: Lord, have mercy
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.
- That Christians may do what God wants, as Mary did (pause and pray….). Lord, hear us.
- That the world may be filled with grace, as Mary was (pause and pray….). Lord, hear us.
- That we may show love in our families, as Jesus, Mary and Joseph did (pause and pray….). Lord, hear us.
- That every person may realise their role in God’s plan for the world (pause and pray….). Lord, hear us.
- That parents who long to have a child may trust in God’s power (pause and pray….). Lord, hear us.
- That all children, born and unborn, may be loved as warmly as Mary’s own child Jesus (pause and pray….). Lord, hear us.
The presider prays for the 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 and pray….). 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.
PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS
In your goodness, Lord,
receive the sacrifice of salvation
which we offer on the feast of the immaculate conception.
We profess in faith
that your grace preserved the Virgin Mary
from every stain of sin;
through her intercession deliver us from all our faults.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER II
Lord, you are holy indeed,
you are the fountain of all holiness.
Send down your Spirit upon these gifts to make them holy,
that they may become for us
the body + and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Before he was given up to death,
a death he freely accepted,
he took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke the bread,
gave it to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT IT:
THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.
When supper was ended, he took the cup;
again he gave you thanks,
gave the cup to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT:
THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD,
THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT.
IT WILL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR ALL,
SO THAT SINS MAY BE FORGIVEN.
DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.
The mystery of faith…..
Remembering therefore his death and resurrection,
we offer you, Lord God,
this life-giving bread, this saving cup.
We thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.
We pray that all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ
may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.
Lord, remember your Church throughout the world:
perfect us in love
together with Francis our Pope and N. our Bishop,
with all bishops, priests, and deacons,
and all who minister to your people.
Remember our brothers and sisters
who have gone to their rest
in the sure hope of rising again;
bring them and all who have died in your mercy
into the light of your presence.
Have mercy on us all:
make us worthy to share eternal life,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with the apostles and with all the saints,
who have found favour with you throughout the ages;
in union with them
may we praise you and give you glory
through your Son, Jesus Christ.
THROUGH HIM, AND WITH HIM, AND IN HIM……
PRAYER AFTER HOLY COMMUNION
Lord our God,
let the sacrament we have received
heal in us the wounds of that sin
from which you preserved the Virgin Mary
through the singular grace of her immaculate conception.
Grant this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SOLEMN BLESSING (The Blessed Virgin Mary)
Bow your heads for God’s blessing.
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.