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Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Preparing to Become the Mother of God

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you,
and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
and he will again choose Jerusalem.
Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
He stirs forth from his holy dwelling.
Zechariah 2:14-17

Presentation of MaryOn November 21, we commemorate the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple of Jerusalem. According to tradition, Our Lady was solemnly consecrated to God as an infant in the temple of the Lord. Mary’s total offering of herself throughout her young life prepared her to become the Theotokos, the Mother of God. 

When did the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary originate?

The celebration of the feast is believed to have originated in 543 with the dedication of a basilica built by the Emperor Justinian to honor Mary. The first documented celebration of the feast was in an 11th-century calendar of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II. Pope Sixtus IV extended its celebration to the universal church in 1472.

In the 1974 encyclical Marialis Cultus, n.8, Pope Paul VI wrote that the feast, “Despite its apocryphal content… presents lofty and exemplary values and carries on the venerable traditions having their origins in the Eastern churches.”

The Feast of the Presentation demonstrates that Mary led a contemplative life as well as an active one. According to tradition, she spent her early years in service to God, which prepared her for her role in the story of Divine Redemption.

Prayer for the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

As we venerate the glorious memory
of the most holy Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, O Lord, through her intercession,
that we, too, may merit to receive
the fullness of your grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Light a Candle

Light a Candle at the BasilicaIn honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we invite you to Light a Candle at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Vigil candles burn in the chapels throughout the Upper Church and Crypt level of the National Shrine. Each candle represents the faith of the supplicants and their fervent prayers entrusted to the loving intercession of the Blessed Mother.



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