Penzance Catholic Church was officially consecrated on
26th October 1843. At that time there were very few Catholics in
the area. The dedication was probably influenced by the fact that
the ages old devotion to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady was
to be defined and promulgated in 1854, by Pope Pius IX
It may be of interest that in 1497 the University of
Paris and subsequently many other seats of learning demanded of
their students, an oath to defend and uphold the Immaculate
Conception of Mary. Our Penzance Church
It was at Lourdes that Mary
introduced herself as "The Immaculate
Our Lady of Lourdes: May we be
assisted, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the worshipful intercession
of Thy glorious Mother, the ever-Virgin Mary; that we who have been
enriched by her perpetual blessings, may be delivered from all
dangers, and through her loving kindness made to be of one heart
and mind; who livest and reignest world without end.
The Immaculate Conception of the
Blessed Virgin Mary
Our Lady’s place in Roman Catholic
theology is often misunderstood. As a human being, she is venerated
as ‘the highest honour of our race’, but never worshipped. Her
Immaculate Conception (without stain of sin) in the womb of her
mother was first introduced as a feast by the English Crusaders
returning from the East in the mid-eleventh century. Thus, by the
time Pope Pius IX solemnly proclaimed the doctrine of the
Immaculate Conception in 1854 – exercising as he did so his power
of infallible teaching – Mary’s freedom from original sin had long
been acknowledged. The Church views this preservation from sin as a
fruit of divine grace and a special privilege conferred by
Many people pray to the Lord through
Our Lady, especially when struggling with sin and feeling unworthy
to face him directly. Mary is gentle, non-judgmental and able in
her maternal way to embrace the sinner without censure. As we look
at the stages in Mary’s life, we feel her strength, her faith and
her love. As we ask for her intercession, we sense her motherly
touch and our hearts are softened and made fertile.
What, then, does the Gospel story of
the Annunciation mean in real terms? Given the Trinitarian doctrine
of ‘Three Persons, One God’, it means that Mary is being called to
give birth to the One who made her! Even the most sophisticated
theologian would struggle with this, but Mary is an ordinary girl,
with mundane, unambitious plans. God’s message terrifies her.
Indeed, the angel senses her anxiety and tries to calm her fears.
We know, too, since she asks the angel how she, a virgin, could
possibly be pregnant. However, the misgiving is short-lived, as
Mary’s sinless and faith-filled heart trusts in God and she makes
the ultimate self-offering. Mary finds a way forward through her
utter simplicity, her very sense of being so ordinary for such a
huge assignment. As the Carmelite poet Jessica Powers wrote: ‘If
you have nothing, gather back your sigh/and with your hands held
high, your heart held high/lift up your emptiness’. This is exactly
what Mary does.
‘Mary, intercede for me with your
Son, that I may be more like you; that I may step forward into the
dark, trustingly, daringly, expansively and lovingly.’
Tribute at the statue
of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Piazza
Prayer of Pope John Paul II - Solemnity of the
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Monday, 8
1. Queen of Peace, pray for
us! On the feast of your Immaculate
Conception I return to venerate you, O Mary, at the foot of this
statue that from Piazza di Spagna allows your motherly gaze to
sweep across the ancient city of Rome, so dear to me. I have come
here this evening to pay you the homage of my deep devotion. In
this act countless Romans join me on this square; their love has
followed me always, through all the years of my service to the See
of Peter. I am here with them to set out on the journey towards the
150th anniversary of the Dogma that we celebrate today with filial
2. Queen of
Peace, pray for us! To you we turn our gaze with stronger
trepidation, to you we hasten back with more insistent trust in
these times scarred by a multitude of doubts and fears for the
present and future destiny of our planet. To you, the first-fruits
of humanity redeemed by Christ, set free at last from the slavery
of evil and sin, we raise together our heartfelt, trusting plea:
listen to the cry of pain of the war victims, of the victims of the
many forms of violence that bathe the earth in blood. Dispel the
shadows of sorrow and of loneliness, of hatred and of revenge. Open
to forgiveness the minds and hearts of all!
3. Queen of Peace, pray for us! Mother of
mercy and of hope, obtain for the men and women of the third
millennium the precious gift of peace; peace in hearts and
families, in communities and among peoples; peace above all for
those Nations where people fight and die every day. Obtain that
every human being of every race and culture may encounter and
accept Jesus, who came down to earth in the mystery of Christmas to
give "His" peace to us. ... O Mary, Queen of Peace, give us
Christ, the world's true Peace!
Dedication prayer to the Immaculate
Conception. (contributed by e-mail)
O Immaculate Virgin,
Mother of God and our Mother, We honour you as the protector of the
children of God, The model of all virtue and the faithful servant
of God's holy will. Hear our sincere prayer of praise and our plea
for your intercession on behalf of the Church.
Through the power of the Holy
Spirit, We share in the life of your Son through Baptism; We
celebrate God's grace that is continually lavished upon us; We bask
in in the Father's love that envelops us; We give thanks for our
redemption that was won by your Son.
On this day, we dedicate
ourselves to your Immaculate Conception. Help us to follow your
example of generous cooperation and loving obedience. Help us to
grow beyond the challenges of our hurts, suffering and
disappointments. Help us to live humbly in joyful hope as followers
of your Son.
Placing our Church under your care
and protection, We pray that you remove any barriers that prevent
us from realizing the Good News of your Son, And any evil that
touches our hearts and spirit. We pray that you entrust us to the
transforming power of your Son.
Heavenly Mother, Immaculate
Mother of Christ, our Saviour, Help us to follow your example
of trusting in God's will. May God's mercy transform our fears into
hope, our angers into love, our questions into belief. We
pray that you intercede with your Son to strengthen our hearts and
open our minds to work for the reconciliation and peace He came to
O Mother of the Word made
Flesh, receive our dedication and our hope. Be not deaf to
our petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer us forever and
Sinless Mother, you are the
image of what the Church is called to become. By God's grace and
favour, you were kept free from original sin. By the
work of the Holy Spirit, you bore for us Jesus, the
Saviour of the world. Help the Church to always be a
vessel of holiness. As you were filled with the gifts of the
Holy Spirit at Pentecost, may the Church be filled with that
same Spirit to witness the Good News of salvation throughout the
We ask this through Christ our
Meditation on the
Feastday (contributed by
No matter what else we may say about
today, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is first and
foremost a celebration of the Father's perfect plan. It is a
recognition that even Mary's conception was carefully planned so
that she could become a perfect vessel for the Son of
God. Just think: From all eternity God had planned that
He would bring his Son into the world through a woman whom He would
preserve from original sin. Imagine how intricately God must
have worked in Mary's life so that she could play her part!
Do you believe that God created you with as much
care and love as He did Mary? He did! Do
you believe that He is as proud of you and what He has called you
to do as He is of Mary? He is! Everything
about your life has been carefully attended to so that you could
fulfil your destiny, and God is always with you to help
None of us is just a random occurrence. We
have not been left here to evolve alone. Every part of our
lives fits into a master plan, something we can learn about
and embrace as we spend time in prayer and Scripture. Parts
of this plan are common to all of us. For example, we know
that God wants us to be holy and full of love and praise for
him (Ephesians 1:4-6). But each of us is designed to
fulfill these callings in our own unique way.
Mary was destined to take up a particular
role in salvation history. And it is no different for
you. You were uniquuely created to play a vital role in His
kingdom. Seek God in prayer, Bible study,
fellowship and selfless giving. As you do, He will show
you what part He has called you to play. And don't
worry---what the Father intends for you to do with your life, He
will empower you to do. Only you can fulfill your role,
and He will provide the grace you need to carry out His
plans. Seek Him and trust the Holy Spirit to help you
accomplish all that God needs you to become.
"Almighty Father, how mysterious and
inscrutable are your ways! I want to fulfill your plan for my
life. Lead me to trust more fully in you as you work through
me to bring about your kingdom."
Homily of the
Day (contributed by e-mail)
Title: She Was Almost Invisible, but She Gave Birth to
Author: Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph. D. Date: Wednesday,
December 8, 2004. Genesis 3:9-15, 20; Ephesians 1:3-6 11-12; Luke
As we look across the span of recorded history, we
find the exploits of leaders, scholars, adventurers, inventors, and
explorers whose achievements changed forever the world that we live
in. And we wonder how they rose to greatness, as often as not from
humble beginnings. More often than not, our wonderings go
unanswered, because there is rarely a useful record of their
formative years, and even less useful records of those invisible
people who did the forming and shaping of their intellects and
The feast we mark today celebrates that simple peasant girl whose
heart was so open to God that she gave birth to God's only Son,
whom she then tended and guided for the many years that followed.
What an extraordinary privilege that was, and with what grace Mary
lived up to her special calling at every moment. At the very first
moment of it all, she said to the angel, "I don't understand how
this can be, but my answer to God is 'Yes.'" And so it was all her
That is why we celebrate this and all the feasts of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, because she, a human being just like us, had both the
ability and the willingness to say "Yes" to God at every moment. In
doing that, she made the right home and formed the right heart in
God's Son and her son, Jesus.
Mary is the almost-invisible woman in the Gospels, but her gift to
Jesus was beyond calculation. The gifts that we have to give will
in the long run also be almost entirely invisible except to those
who can read the fine lines of cause and effect from generation to
Give your gift as Mary did. History may never notice, but God will,
and so will many of His children.
the Immaculate Conception
God the Father, Source of all sanctity, Have
mercy on us.
God the Son, uncreated Sanctity, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Spirit of Sanctity, Have mercy on us.
Most sacred Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, immaculate, Pray for us.
Virgin of virgins, immaculate, Pray for us.
Holy Virgin, by predestination immaculate, Pray for us.
Holy Virgin, in thy conception immaculate, Pray for us.
Holy Virgin, after thy conception immaculate, Pray for us.
Daughter of the Father, immaculate, Pray for us.
Mother of the Son, immaculate, Pray for us.
Spouse of the Holy Ghost, immaculate, Pray for us.
Seat of the most Holy Trinity, immaculate, Pray for us.
Image of the Wisdom of God, immaculate, Pray for us.
Dawn of the Sun of justice, immaculate, Pray for us.
Living ark of the body of Christ, immaculate, Pray for us.
Daughter of David, immaculate, Pray for us.
Guide to Jesus, immaculate, Pray for us.
Virgin, triumphing over original sin, immaculate, Pray for us.
Virgin, crushing the head of the serpent, immaculate, Pray for
Queen of heaven and earth, immaculate, Pray for us.
Gate of the heavenly Jerusalem, immaculate, Pray for us.
Dispenser of graces, immaculate, Pray for us.
Spouse of Saint Joseph, immaculate, Pray for us.
Star of the world, immaculate, Pray for us.
Impregnable tower of the Church Militant, immaculate, Pray for
Rose amid thorns, immaculate, Pray for us.
Olive of the fields, immaculate, Pray for us.
Model of all perfection, immaculate, Pray for us.
Cause of our hope, immaculate, Pray for us.
Pillar of our faith, immaculate, Pray for us.
Source of Divine Love, immaculate, Pray for us.
Sure sign of our salvation, immaculate, Pray for us.
Rule of perfect obedience, immaculate, Pray for us.
Pattern of holy poverty, immaculate, Pray for us.
School of devotion, immaculate, Pray for us.
Abode of chaste modesty, immaculate, Pray for us.
Anchor of our salvation, immaculate, Pray for us.
Light of Angels, immaculate, Pray for us.
Crown of Patriarchs, immaculate, Pray for us.
Glory of Prophets, immaculate, Pray for us.
Lady and Mistress of Apostles, immaculate, Pray for us.
Support of Martyrs, immaculate, Pray for us.
Strength of Confessors, immaculate, Pray for us.
Diadem of Virgins, immaculate, Pray for us.
Splendour of all Saints, immaculate, Pray for us.
Sanctity of all Christians, immaculate, Pray for us.
Companion of devout souls, immaculate, Pray for us.
Joy of those who hope in thee, immaculate, Pray for us.
Health of the sick, immaculate, Pray for us.
Advocate of sinners, immaculate, Pray for us.
Terror of heretics, immaculate, Pray for us.
Protectress of all mankind, immaculate, Pray for us.
Patroness of those who honour thee, immaculate, Pray for
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Graciously hear
us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on
V. In thy Conception, O Virgin Mary, thou wast immaculate.
R. Pray for us to the Father, Whose Son Jesus, conceived of the
Holy Ghost, thou didst bring forth.
Let us pray, O Almighty and Eternal God, Who didst prepare for
Thy Son a worthy habitation, by the Immaculate Conception of the
Blessed Virgin Mary: we beseech Thee that, as Thou didst preserve
her from every stain of sin, through the merits of the pre-ordained
atonement of Jesus Christ, so Thou wouldst grant that we also may
come without spot to Thee. Through the same Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Source: Kyrie Eleison — Two Hundred Litanies by
Benjamin Francis Musser O.F.M., The Magnificat Press,
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Mary, Mother of the Church; Patron of Penzance
Catholic Church and our Holy Family Parish Primary School; Queen of
Peace & Reconciliation; Help of the sick & Comfortress of
the afflicted; please pray for all who have recourse to
thee and for Love, Peace and Justice in our troubled
"Through Her we see Him, made sweeter, not dim;
And Her hand leaves His light, sifted to suit our sight."
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