If you were given a saint’s name at baptism, that saint is your patron saint. Countries also have patron saints. Who is the patron saint of the United States?
If you answered, “Mary, the mother of Jesus,” you are correct. In 1846, the bishops of the United States were asked to watch over our country in a special way. They also chose one particular title and feast of Mary—her Immaculate Conception.
The title of the Immaculate Conception recognizes Mary’s privilege of coming into the world free from sin. Through the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection, every human being can be freed from sin at Baptism. Through that same power, Mary was always free from sin, even from that very first moment of life.
On December 8, the Church celebrates this special privilege given to Mary. At the liturgy we thank God for all his blessings he has given to the people of our country. And we can thank Mary for watching over and protecting our people.
Collect prayer from the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception:
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin
prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son,
grant, we pray,
that as you preserved her from very stain
by virtue of the Death of your Son, which you foresaw
so through her intercession,
we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence.
through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son
who lives and reigns with you in the
unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.
from Saints and Feast Days, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio
Image credit: Immaculate Conception by Peter Paul Rubens, 1629. Public Domain via Wikimedia.