A feast dedicated to Mary’s conception first appeared in the 7th century and by the 12th century it was firmly established in England. In the 13th century, great thinkers such as St. Bernard and St. Thomas Aquinas debated whether Mary could have been born without original sin if, as St. Paul says, all persons are born in sin (Romans 5.12). By the 19th century, the theological debate was resolved and in 1854 Pius IX defined the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception as a dogma of faith. In 1846, the Catholic Church of the United States declared this to be its patronal feast.
The gospels are bereft of details regarding Mary’s parents – Jesus’ grandparents – not even offering their names. What we do know comes from writings excluded the canon of Scripture, in particular the Protogospel of James. Nevertheless, the cult of Saint Anne existed in the 6th century in the Church of Constantinople and early in the 8...More
The Feast of the Transfiguration has been observed on this day by the universal Church since the 15th century. The experience on Mount Tabor is one where Jesus reveals his divinity, and invites us all into a similar mystical encounter. The path up that mountain proceeds through prayer, and on this feast we are encouraged to read and reflect ...More