Fr Paul Gooley reads from the Gospel of Luke (1: 26-38) in which the Angel Gabriel visits Mary in Nazareth, saying to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Fr Paul says the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is the doctrine that the Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin, which is that twist in our nature that makes our will tend not to follow what it knows to be right. It was this grace that enabled Mary to give a true and considered “Yes” to the request, conveyed to her by the Angel Gabriel, that she should consent to be the mother of the incarnate God. Because it is so old, this is one of the Marian doctrines that Islam shares with the Catholic Church. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was almost universally believed over the centuries but was only formally defined as a doctrine of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1854. So, on this day, Fr Paul invites us to pray, ‘Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!’