The spiritual joy of this Gaudete Sunday converges with the joy of the Immaculate Conception on this Sunday within its Octave. Dom Prosper Guéranger, O.S.B., is one of the great figures of the Catholic Restoration in France during the 19th Century. He is considered to be the founder of what became the Liturgical Renewal Movement, a Movement which reached its apogee at the time the Second Vatican Council convened. His theological scholarship played an important rôle in the two solemn definitions of Pope Pius IX, the Immaculate Conception (1854) and Papal Infallibility (1870).

As a young monk at the age of 18, he received a special grace of inspiration for grasping the mystery of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception. He writes of it:conception. Speculation and effort were united effortlessly in this mystery.

It was then when the merciful and compassionate Queen, Mother of God, came to my assistance in a way which was as triumphant as it was unexpected. On December 8th, 1823, while I was doing my meditation with the Community, and I approached my argument—the mystery of the day—with my rational viewpoints as usual, suddenly I was led to believe in Mary Immaculate in her conception. Speculation and effort were united effortlessly in this mystery.

I felt a sweet joy in my consent, without rapture, with a gentle peace and sincere conviction. Mary deigned to transform me with her blessed hands without anxiety, without vehemence: one nature disappeared to leave room for another. I did not say anything to anyone, especially because I did not imagine the significance that this revelation would have for me. I was undoubtedly overwhelmed; but today I am still overwhelmed when understanding the scope of the favor that the Holy Virgin deigned to grant me that day.

It is so crucial for us to have a clear idea of what the Church means by her dogma and doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. There are three important points.  

  • Mary, by a singular privilege of God, was conceived without any stain of Original Sin, therefore Immaculate.
  • Mary also never committed any personal sin over the course of her life. She was not only conceived without sin, but she also lived without sin.
  • Mary was free of all concupiscence. She had the donum integritatis—the “gift of integrity”. She did not have the inclinations to lust and anger and vainglorious pride with which everyone else (under the law of sin as we are) has to contend. 

Fr. Higgins

About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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"If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter."
- St. Therese of Lisieux (+1897)

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