The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is the subject of a lot of misconceptions (so to speak). Perhaps the most common one, held even by many Catholics, is that it celebrates the conception of Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. No! That the feast occurs only 17 days before Christmas should make the error obvious! We celebrate another feast—the Annunciation of the Lord—on March 25, exactly nine months before Christmas.
The Immaculate Conception celebrates the purity of the Blessed Mother. Remember, at the Annunciation, when Mary humbly accepted the honor bestowed on her by God, announced by the angel Gabriel. In teaching that Mary was conceived immaculately, the Catholic Church informs us that from the very moment of her conception, the Blessed Virgin Mary was free from all stain of original sin. This simply means that from the beginning, she was in a state of grace, sharing in God's own life, and saved from any sinful inclinations which beset human nature after the fall. (Photo: Room of the Immaculate Conception )