102. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is profoundly influential among the faithful, is an occasion for many displays of popular piety and especially for the novena of the Immaculate Conception. There can be no doubt that the feast of the pure and sinless Conception of the Virgin Mary, which is a fundamental preparation for the Lord’s coming into the world, harmonizes perfectly with many of the salient themes of Advent. This feast also makes reference to the long messianic waiting for the Savior’s birth and recalls events and prophecies from the Old Testament, which are also used in the Liturgy of Advent.
We also get something of a revisit on the fourth Sunday of Advent, squarely in the middle of the Christmas novena.
The novena of the Immaculate Conception, wherever it is celebrated, should highlight the prophetical texts which begin with Genesis 3,15, and end in Gabriel’s salutation of the one who is “full of grace” (Lk 1, 31-33).
Some testimony from today’s saint:
The approach of Christmas is celebrated throughout the American continent with many displays of popular piety, centred on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (12 December), which dispose the faithful to receive the Savior at his birth. Mary, who was “intimately united with the birth of the Church in America, became the radiant Star illuminating the proclamation of Christ the Savior to the (daughters and) sons of these nations”(John Paul II, Discourse at the Angelus of 24 January 1999, Mexico City.).
The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.