Posted: 8th December 2012

Christmas Dinner at 1 p.m. followed by a whole school Mass 5.30 p.m.

Many Christians around the world, particularly those of the Catholic faith, mark the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in their diaries and calendars. Church services (or masses) to honor this observance are held on or around December 8.  The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a public holiday in some places, such as Guam and Malta, so many people in these areas have a day off work or school. In Clongowes we mark the feast with our annual Christmas Dinner at 1 p.m. followed by a whole school Mass 5.30 p.m.

Theological controversy surrounded the Feast of the Immaculate Conception for centuries. However popular celebration of this holiday dates back to at least the eighth century. The argument related to the meaning of the word “immaculate”, which in this context refers to the belief that Jesus’ mother Mary was conceived without original sin, according to Christian belief.

Many theologians throughout Christian history, including St Thomas Aquinas, questioned the Immaculate Conception. It remained open for debate for many years until Pope Pius IX proclaimed it to be an essential dogma in the Catholic Church on December 8, 1854. The written document on this is known as the Ineffabilis Deus. Since then, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the belief that Mary was born without sin and that God chose her to be Jesus’ mother.

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