By Ben Cal
MANILA, Dec. 7 (PNA) — The Philippines, the only Catholic country in Asia, joins Catholics around the world in the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Tuesday (Dec. 8), a holiday of obligation for Roman Catholics.
The Catholic dogma declares that the Blessed Virgin Mary was born without origin.
It was in 1854 that Pope Pius IX made the infallible statement Ineffabilis Deus declaring that: "The most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant 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."
Catholic churches on Sunday (Dec. 6) reminded their parishioners to hear Mass on Dec. 8 because it is a holiday of obligation.
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is one of the most important Marian feasts celebrated in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church, is observed every Dec. 8. However, when Dec. 8 falls on Sunday, the feast is celebrated on Dec. 9.
There are two other holidays of obligation Roman Catholics observe and must hear Mass – New Year and Christmas Day.
At the same time, by Pontifical designation and decree, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is the patronal feast day aside from the Philippines like Argentina, Brazil, Korea, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Spain, the United States and Uruguay.
On this day since 1854, the Holy See through the Sacred Congregation of Rites grants the Spanish crown the expressed privilege of permitting blue vestments for their present and former territories.
Since 1953, the Pope as Bishop of Rome visits the Column of the Immaculate Conception in Piazza di Spagna to offer expiatory prayers commemorating the solemn event. (PNA)