One in Mary’s Immaculate Conception

By: Diane Angeli Martinez, Augusto Urbano II, John Patrick Bajalla
December 08, 2023

The Immaculate Conception of Mary is commemorated on December 8 in accordance with the 1854 encyclical of Pope Pius IX. Photo courtesy of Augusto Urbano II of The LANCE.

The Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception today, December 8. 

We commemorate how Mary, from the first moment of her being conceived in her mother, St. Anne’s womb, was free from the restraints of original sin. Being pure and spotless from the moment of conception, Mary became the perfect woman and mother to our Lord Jesus Christ. 

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX issued a papal encyclical in which he officially defined the Immaculate Conception, titled “INEFFABILIS DEUS”, which marked the beginning of the celebration of this feast. After a few years, in 1858, at Lourdes, the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette, saying, "I am the Immaculate Conception". 

As an institution, the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán celebrated a mass in anticipation of the feast of the Immaculate Conception yesterday, December 7. 

The mass was presided over by Rev. Fr. Hilario Sicat Jr. OP, from the convent of San Alberto Magno in Calamba, Laguna, and in attendance were the faculty and staff of the Colegio. 

In his homily, Fr. Sicat stated that, “The Dogma of Immaculate Concepcion illustrates the fact that God has a plan for us, for the entire creation. Indeed, hindi lang sa mabait, hindi lang sa mabuti, ngunit sa ating lahat palaging may plano ang Diyos.” 

In an interview with The LANCE, Fr. Sicat expressed the significance of celebrating Mary’s Immaculate Conception to the Catholics. 

“It is to celebrate Her and get along more with Mama Mary. You get to know more about the Blessed Virgin Mary. And the more you know, the more you love,” Fr. Sicat said.

The Letran Community holds a special place for Mary and celebrating her Immaculate Conception is a significant part of being a Letranite. Fr. Sicat added that it is “For them to be reminded that God has a plan and God fulfills His plans to us. He did that to Mary, He will do that to us.” 

Also present in the mass were the faculty and staff of the Colegio’s Religious Affairs Division, along with Asst. Prof. Manuel Zamora Jr. who is also Chairman of the Colegio’s Religious Education Area.  

“It is also a celebration no, as we prepare for the coming of the Lord. We reflect on the bearer of Christ, the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Like Mary, we get inspiration from her because she is our model and the courage of giving her yes to the calling of the lord. Is the same courage we expect from us and like her who won the favor of god as she blessed all you among women and by imitating her will also make you blessed like her. And hopefully we will be with Jesus, her son in heaven,” Mr. Zamora shared in an interview with The LANCE.

The Colegio also conducted an advent recollection for the faculty and staff before the mass where Fr. Hilario Sicat Jr. OP was also the retreat master and facilitator. 

“In the midst of darkness in front of us, whether personal or in our community, the real world rejoices in us. Our trail of hope. And so, my dear Letranites, may the God of hope bring us whole joy and peace so you may be above in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen,” the priest said as he concluded the said event.