The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sitting on the clear sands of the Claridade beach in Figueira da Foz, listening to the constant coming and going of the waves of the sea and enjoying the sun that appears shy among some clouds in the autumn sky … A contagious joy of being able to be alive takes over. To be able to appreciate the divine wonders in the landscape, in the seagulls following the fishing boats when entering the Mondego River with the full vessel, the fruit of a fruitful day of work is amazing. In the distance it is possible to hear the ringing of church bells, inviting their followers to remember a very important person, mother of all Catholics, the Virgin Mary, in this day of celebration, the day of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Implementation of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
The feast held on December 8 was implemented in the Catholic calendar by Pope Sixtus IV on February 28, 1477. This is a guard fest for Catholics, that is, mandatory.
It takes place regardless of the date being a Sunday,¹ except in certain dioceses or countries where, with the prior approval of the Holy See, its celebration was suppressed or transferred to a Sunday. It is a date to celebrate the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary. Which means in layman’s terms that Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, was conceived free from original sin, unlike other human beings who, according to Catholic belief, are born with the sin of Adam and Eve.
¹The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary was solemnly defined as dogma by Pope Pius IX in 1854. The Catholic Church considers it a dogma to be supported by the Bible (for example, Mary being greeted by the Angel Gabriel as “full of grace”), as well as by writings of the Church Fathers. Since Jesus became incarnate in the Virgin Mary’s womb, it was necessary that she be completely free from sin in order to be able to bear her Son.
Importance of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception for Portugal
Seeing the Virgin Mary as the queen and patron of Portugal, the feast of the Immaculate Conception is rooted in Portuguese culture. According to the Bishop of Algarve: ²”the reason for this veneration and for this title to be deeply rooted in the Portuguese people are because two centuries before, the Portuguese king D. João IV, depositing the crown of the kingdom at the foot of the image of Our Lady of Conception in Vila Viçosa, proclaimed her as queen is patron saint of Portugal “.
Not for less, ³D. João IV made this solemn ceremony, in Vila Viçosa, to thank Our Lady for the Restoration of the Independence of Portugal in relation to Spain.
In addition to the crowning of Our Lady of Conception, John IV recognizing the protective effective of the Patroness of the Kingdom for the release of French rule, created the Military Order of Our Lady of Conception of Vila Viçosa.
After that great moment, no other in King in Portugal put the royal crown on their heads.
Church of Our Lady of Conception in Vila Viçosa
Our Lady of Conception
Woman, wife, mother and example of life for many Catholic faithfuls. Its biblical history mixed with the Portuguese of conquests, defeats, suffering and fidelity, is beautiful to be read.
In art, beautifully portrayed by various artists for centuries. Below are some of these works:
Remember: With Covid-19, it is always very important that you follow the recommendations that aim to minimize the spread of the pandemic virus. Enjoy the day of the Immaculate Conception by following the pandemic containment recommendations and protect yourself, and thus you will also be protecting your neighbor.
See you in the next post!
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