The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is observed each year on December 8. This holy day of obligation is an important day in the liturgical calendar, and it celebrates a centuries-old doctrine that was officially defined by the Church in 1854. Even though it is so important, there is still often misunderstanding about this holy day.
When I was praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary recently, I realized an ugly truth about myself: if I were in Mary’s shoes, I would have a difficult time seeing the events in the mysteries as joyful. In fact, I imagined myself complaining about them and using each of the events as a reason to feel sorry for myself. This idea took over my meditation, and I began to see each mystery primarily in terms of the sorrow it caused for Mary.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is an apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Juan Diego on a hill outside of modern day Mexico City. When she appeared to Juan Diego, he went to the archbishop to share his experience. The archbishop asked for a sign, and Our Lady obliged by directing Juan Diego to collect roses in his cloak.
1917 was not an easy year for the world. The nations were in the midst of the largest and most horrific conflict the world had yet seen: World War I. The present—and the future—looked bleak.
Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for May 2016 is that "women may be honored and respected" around the world.