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The Very. Rev. Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC, has Mary Immaculate behind him. Our Lady, he says, stands ready to comfort and guide us “as the worries, woes, and stresses of everyday life dim the path along the way.”
Mary's Sinlessness 'Vitally Relevant' for Us Today
By Dan Valenti (Dec 5, 2010)
On Dec. 8, the Church celebrates the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1854, the Church formally defined the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception, that she was preserved from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception. The understanding of Mary's spotlessness, however, had long been a Church tradition prior to that.
"We must remember that the Church Fathers placed great emphasis on the veneration of Mary as the Mother of God," says the Very. Rev. Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC, provincial superior of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in America and Argentina. "Implicit in this was the Fathers' belief in Mary's purity."
Father Dan says the Immaculate Conception of Mary remains "vitally relevant" for today's Church because of Mary's role as the definitive way to Jesus.
"There's not too much in this vale of tears [called earth] that can draw and earn our certainty," Fr. Dan says, "but this much is certain: Mary, because she never knew the stain of sin, remains the surest, most reliable way in which we can go to Jesus. If God had created her with Original Sin, like the rest of us, we could not say this. God, of course, did not do that. He loves us too much, and so without doubt, we can recommend this unique aspect of the Blessed Mother — for whom our Congregation takes its name — to all those looking for direction in life."
It's interesting to note that eight years before the Holy Father dogmatically declared Mary's Immaculate Conception, the Sixth Provincial Council of the Church in America passed a decree naming Mary Immaculate as Patroness of the United States. The bishops also selected Dec. 8 as the patronal feast day.
In a letter dated May 5, 1846, the bishops entrusted the United States to Mary, "whose Immaculate Conception is venerated by the piety of the faithful throughout the Catholic Church. By the aid of her prayers, we entertain the confident hope that we will be strengthened to perform the arduous duties of our ministry and that [Americans] will be enabled to practice the sublime virtues of which [Mary's] life presents the most perfect example."
In his address delivered at midday after praying the Angelus on Dec. 8, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI said, "Mary is in fact the Mother of the Church, as Pope Paul VI and Vatican II solemnly proclaimed. While, therefore, we render thanks to God for this wonderful sign of His goodness, we entrust to the Immaculate Virgin each one of us, our families and the community, the whole Church, and the entire world."
Our Lady, therefore, as Fr. Dan says, stands ready to comfort and guide us "as the worries, woes, and stresses of everyday life dim the path along the way." She is "the star" that will direct our route to the one that leads to Jesus.
She is Mary. She is our Mother. She is Immaculate.