God Ineffable—whose ways are mercy and truth, whose will is omnipotence itself, and whose wisdom "reaches from end to end mightily, and orders all things sweetly"—having foreseen from all eternity the lamentable wretchedness of the entire human race which would result from the sin of Adam, decreed, by a plan hidden from the centuries, to complete the first work of his goodness by a mystery yet more wondrously sublime through the Incarnation of the Word. This he decreed in order that man who, contrary to the plan of Divine Mercy had been led into sin by the cunning malice of Satan, should not perish; and in order that what had been lost in the first Adam would be gloriously restored in the Second Adam. From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world. Above all creatures did God so loved her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight. Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.
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Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete. Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."
From Ineffabilis Deus
by Pope Bl. Pius IX, December 8, 1854
Because in 2019 the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (ordinarily December 8) occurs on a Sunday of Advent (which takes precedence), it is transferred to the following day. Although not a holyday of obligation this year, it remains an important day in the calendar of the Church, and Mass will be celebrated at St. Francis at 12:05 p.m.
Father Joshua West, Pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and Chaplain for Catholic Campus Ministry at NC State in Raleigh, will lead a mission at St. Francis Church for Advent. He will speak at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, December 8, 9, and 10. The last evening will also include the Advent penance service.
Fr. Joshua joined the Legion of Christ in 1996 and was ordained a priest in 2009. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Theology and a Licentiate in Philosophy from Regina Apostolorum in Rome. As a priest he has served in various roles, including School Chaplain, Vocation Director for the Legion of Christ, Regnum Christi Chaplain, and Retreat Center Director. He has led many retreats for people of all ages.