The feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a holy day of obligation, will be observed Tuesday, Dec. 8.
It is one of the oldest Marian feasts, dating back to the seventh century. In 1846, Mary was proclaimed patroness of the United States under this title. By her faith, obedience and holiness, she teaches what it means to be a bearer of Christ to the world.
The schedule of Masses for some centrally located parishes includes:
WASHINGTON — The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception — the largest Catholic church in the United States and one of the largest Catholic churches in the world — is celebrating its 50th anniversary but it is still a work in progress, as are the people who worship there, said a West Virginia bishop who was once the shrine's rector.
WASHINGTON — The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington — the largest Catholic church in North America and one of the 10 largest churches in the world — is a familiar place to U.S. Catholics who regard the immense structure as their own.
The basilica, which marked the 50th anniversary of its dedication Nov. 20, is not a parish or a cathedral. Instead, it was designated by the U.S. bishops as a national place of prayer and pilgrimage, something the basilica's 1 million annual visitors know well.
Before the establishment of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, or the City of St. Louis, or the United States of America, Ste. Genevieve Parish was serving Catholics in Ste. Genevieve. Located about 45 miles south of St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve is believed to be the oldest parish in the St. Louis Archdiocese and the first in the Upper Mississippi territory. It began under French and then Spanish rule before the area became part of the United States. This year, Ste. Genevieve Parish is celebrating its 250th anniversary.
· Father Henri Pratte, believed to be the first native born priest in the St. Louis Archdiocese, is buried under the church. Father Pratte died at age 34 during a yellow fever epidemic while ministering to sick parishioners.
Also buried under the church are Francois Valle, commandant of Ste. Genevieve from 1776 to 1804, and his wife, Marie Carpenter Valle; Father James (also known as Jacques) Maxwell, an Irishman who was pastor from 1795 to 1814, and longtime cantor Francois Corset, who died in 1798.
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will be the principal celebrant at the 250th anniversary Mass at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22. Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Hermann also will attend, along with more than 20 priests, including former pastors and associate pastors and priests who were originally from the parish. Hundreds of parishioners, former parishioners and friends are expected as well. A celebration dinner will be held after Mass at the nearby Knights of Columbus Hall. A musical prelude will be held at 2:30 p.m. preceding the Mass.