A program of celebrations in preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
The annual Novena in preparation for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception at the Basilica of St. Francis from Wednesday, November 29th until Thursday, December 7th.
Over the centuries the Church has understood that Mary, "filled with grace" by God, had been redeemed from the first moment of her conception. For this reason the custom has developed of praying a novena in a preparation for the celebration of this great Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Maria on December 8th.
The reflections that will guide our Novena this year will be offered by Fr. Mario Cisotto, OfmConv, of the community of the Sacro Convento.
The Novena program is as follows:
From Wednesday, the 29th until Thursday, December 7th: There will be Holy Mass every evening at 5 pm. We will pray the Rosary at 6 pm; and at 6.30 pm there will be a solemn Evening Prayer service, during which Fr. Cisotto will preach the Novena.
The Saint Francis Basilica Choir will perform the ancient hymn, "Tota Pulchra" to the music of various authors each evening.
Sunday, December 3rd: (during the Novena)
Holy Mass will be celebrated at the following times throughout the day: 7.30, 9.00, and 10.30 am, 12.00 Noon and 5:00 and 6:30 pm. The Rosary will be recited at 4:30 pm; during the 5 pm Mass Fr. Cisotto will preach the Novena. At 6.00 pm we will pray the Solemn Evening Prayer for the First Sunday of Advent.
Friday, December 8th, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
The principal celebrant for the 5:00 pm Mass was will be Cardinal Benjamin Stella, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. During the Mass there will be an act of entrustment to the Immaculate Virgin Mary. The liturgical music will be led by the Basilica's Chapel Choir, which will perform the song "Tota Pulchra" by Fr. Alessandro Borroni.
After the Mass, we will have the traditional blessing of the Christmas crib and the lighting of the Christmas tree in the lower plaza.
Present at the celebrations will be Dr. Giovanni Dall'Oglio, volunteer of Doctors with Africa (CUAMM), and Fr. Silvano Rughi, priest from the Diocese of Rimini, and a representative of the Liguria region, from which this year’s Basilica Christmas tree comes. The event will be broadcast live by RAI television network. You can see live streaming on www.sanfrancescoassisi.org