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The Annunciation


If you were to attend mass in Spain (or some other European countries) on 25 March, you might well see the priest wearing blue vestments: if you were to look at an older English diary, you might well find ‘Quarter Day’ and ‘Lady Day’ indicated beneath the date. Quarter Days (occurring  - surprise, surprise - four times a year ) were occasions when bills had to be paid and were usually related to feasts of the church. Were you to visit the shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, you would find that the first altar at the entrance of the church is dedicated to S. Gabriel and the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.

Why all this fuss about Mary – to the extent of many traditions throughout the world. In England, Walsingham has long been called ‘England’s Nazareth’ and England has been labelled as the ‘Dowry of Mary’. Small wonder that this one day of the year is called Lady Day, for March 25 is not just any old saint’s day: the day marks the beginning of our salvation in Jesus Christ, and, for that matter, reminds us that it is nine months until Christmas!


What really matters about ‘a virgin shall conceive and bear a son’ is not virginal conception but that the child shall be named Emmanuel, ‘God is with us’. The incarnation is paramount: the virgin birth peripheral.


Mary is central to Christian belief: she is the source of the human Christ, and in her womb was blended - for the only moment in history - the divine and human. Without Mary, there would be no Christianity and those who deny the unique significance of Mary are on the verge of denying the true nature of Jesus Christ.


Mother and maiden

Was never none but she;

Well may such a lady

Godes mother be.

Deacon Douglas MacMillan

The Collect

Almighty Father,

who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples

with the sight of the risen Lord:
give us such knowledge of his presence with us,
that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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