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Are the Annunciation and the Immaculate Conception the same thing?

The Annunciation, observed on March 25, celebrates Mary’s miraculous conception of Jesus, who has no human biological father. Because the angel Gabriel “announced” the conception to her (Luke 1:26-38), the feast is known as the Annunciation. Mary’s response to Gabriel, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38b), sets the pattern of openness for everyone who follows Jesus.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, observed on December 8, celebrates the conception of Mary by her parents (Joachim and Anne, according to an early Christian tradition). The conception was natural except that Mary was preserved from original sin. Even though this teaching was solemnly defined only in 1854 by Pope Pius IX, Catholics had believed it and celebrated it liturgically for many centuries.

Because there is no Gospel story specifically about the conception of Mary, the Catholic Church uses the same passage (Luke 1:26-38, Gabriel’s announcement to Mary) on each solemnity—even though each celebrates a different conception.

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Friday, March 8, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 3/7/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 3/9/2013

John of Monte Corvino: At a time when the Church was heavily embroiled in nationalistic rivalries within Europe, it was also reaching across Asia to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Mongols. John of Monte Corvino went to China about the same time Marco Polo was returning. 
<p>John was a soldier, judge and doctor before he became a friar. Prior to going to Tabriz, Persia (present-day Iran), in 1278, he was well known for his preaching and teaching. In 1291 he left Tabriz as a legate of Pope Nicholas IV to the court of Kublai Khan. An Italian merchant, a Dominican friar and John traveled to western India where the Dominican died. When John and the Italian merchant arrived in China in 1294, Kublai Khan had recently died. </p><p>Nestorian Christians, successors to the dissidents of the fifth-century Council of Ephesus’ teaching on Jesus Christ, had been in China since the seventh century. John converted some of them and also some of the Chinese, including Prince George from Tenduk, northwest of Beijing. Prince George named his son after this holy friar. </p><p>John established his headquarters in Khanbalik (now Beijing), where he built two churches; his was the first resident Catholic mission in the country. By 1304 he had translated the Psalms and the New Testament into the Tatar language. </p><p>Responding to two letters from John, Pope Clement V named John Archbishop of Khanbalik in 1307 and consecrated seven friars as bishops of neighboring dioceses. One of the seven never left Europe. Three others died along the way to China; the remaining three bishops and the friars who accompanied them arrived there in 1308. </p><p>When John died in 1328, he was mourned by Christians and non-Christians. His tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage. In 1368, Christianity was banished from China when the Mongols were expelled and the Ming dynasty began. John’s cause has been introduced in Rome.</p> American Catholic Blog We look ahead to the coming of the Son of Man, standing erect and with heads held high. We live in hope, not in fear. Our experience of God is no longer limited by human weakness or even human sinfulness. God has always been one step ahead of us, with a plan that exceeds our greatest desires.

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