On this March twenty-fifth we celebrate Our Lord’s conception in Mary’s womb. The aspect of the event that struck folk in the Middle Ages was the quiet of it in comparison to most conceptions , they sang about the stillness of that moment.
“He came all so still to his mother’s bower as dew in April that falleth on the flower. He came all so still where his mother lay, as dew in April that falleth on the spray. Mother and maiden, was never none but she. Well may such a maiden God’s mother be.”
I often think of this feast day in 1976 when it fell on a Thursday. I was saying weekday Masses in a little chapel in Crescent City, ninety miles south of here, and the same eight people showed up on every weekday.
For Sunday Mass we had a bigger church on Highway 17 south of town. The Sunday before this feast I told the people that the Annunciation should be our biggest feast day. With God’s taking on human form making it the most eventful happening in history.
My remarks registered with people. After Mass some of them asked me if Thursday, the Feast of the Annunciation, were a holyday of obligation. Even during the week people phoned to ask if the Feast of the Annunciation were a holy day of obligation.
I told everybody that it wasn’t a Holy Day of Obligation, but I thought all the inquiries would lead to people packing the chapel On Thursday, but only four people came!
Back then we all believed that if we missed Mass on a Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation we would be committing a Mortal Sin. So, when people learned that the Annunciation was not a Holy Day of Obligation they took advantage of their being able to stay away without committing a Mortal Sin.