Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary: The Franciscan Connection

On December 8, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially significant for Franciscans, as under this title we honor Mary as patroness of our Order. Mary is also venerated under this title as patroness of the United States of America, the Philippines, and a number of other countries.

Basilica of National Shrine of Immaculate Conception Washington DC 700pxlsBasilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC. In 1846 the bishops of the United States unanimously voted to proclaim Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, as patroness of the United States, and this was approved by Pope Pius IX in 1847. Construction on this national shine began in 1920, and the upper church was completed in 1959. Work still continues on the interior.

Francis sees Mary as God’s grace in the world

Francis himself was especially devoted to Mary, seeing in her the prime manifestation of the working

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