By Geneviève Pasquier

Mar 27 2023

THE feast of the Annunciation is usually celebrated on Mar 25. But when Mar 25 falls on Palm Sunday, during Holy Week, or within the octave of Easter (the week following Easter) these periods take precedence over all other feasts. Therefore, the feast of the Annunciation is postponed to the Monday of the second week of Easter. This year, it will be celebrated on Apr 8.

Celebrated since the mid-seventh century in the Latin Church, it is an important feast for Christians as it commemorates the announcement to Mary; conveyed by the archangel Gabriel; that she would be the mother of a truly “unique” child: “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32).

The choice of Mar 25, which dates back to the early centuries, is linked to the choice of Dec 25 for the celebration of Christmas, prompting the early Christians to set Mar 25 as the conception date. In her absolute trust in God, Mary accepts the divine plan (Luke 1:38). She becomes the Mother of God and the Savior, and at the foot of the cross, the Mother of the Church.

This feast is primarily a celebration of the Incarnation, as God begins his human life in Mary, which will lead Jesus to the Cross and Resurrection, and then into the Glory of God.

Furthermore, once the annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus was established on Dec 25, it made sense to commemorate the beginning of his life in Mary’s womb, nine months earlier.

The archangel Gabriel explains that she will bear the child-God in her womb while remaining a virgin: the birth of Jesus, who is made flesh, is not the result of human paternity, but the fruit of a creative intervention by the Spirit.

Believing in Mary’s virginity is an act of faith: neither science nor history can explain the “how” of the resurrection, nor the “how” of Jesus’s conception. Mary herself, in the Annunciation story, when the angel tells her that she will bear a son, asks, “How will this be?” – La Croix International