Making gingerbread houses and Miraculous Medal crafts plus consecrations to the Immaculate Heart, there are material and spiritual customs for Our Lady ’s great feast of the Immaculate Conception
The feast of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception is an opportunity to form children's interior life. On this day we celebrate Mary being conceived, by a special grace of God, without original sin. Our Lord's human nature came from Mary who was preserved from all stain of sin.
There are surprisingly many customs for this great feast of Our Lady. Besides going to Mass and praying the Rosary, visiting a shrine or grotto would be very nice.
Within the home a consecration or renewal of each member of the family to the Immaculate Heart can be done this day. Talk about original sin and the effects of baptism and teach your children to pray that their baptismal innocence will remain until the day they die. Fun activities for the day include a Miraculous Medal craft and making ginger bread cookies or houses.
Ginger Bread Cookies
Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla...mmm-the odor of sweetness.
Ginger bread cookies are associated with this feast day and the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Today is a nice day to make some cookies or begin the custom of building a gingerbread house. There are many ginger bread house kits available.
The fragrance of spices used in gingerbread cookies symbolize the purity and sinlessness of Mary. In the Canticles of Canticles especially the first chapter, words like odor of spices and sweetness, ointments and bridegrooms have been applied by the Church to Our Lady.
Not only does the sweetness and fragrance of gingerbread remind us of Our Lady but spice drops and other decorations used on gingerbread houses serve as a reminder of the sweetness of keeping our baptismal innocence and the goodness that awaits us in heaven.
An Immaculate Conception Craft
A favorite relatively simple craft is creating a miraculous medal to hang in the home. You'll need
- 2 foam sheets
- a large drawing of the front and back of the miraculous medal
- a pencil
- heavy duty aluminum foil
- two key rings
Print or draw an image of the Miraculous Medal on two sheets of paper. Cut these sheets and the 2 foam sheets into the same oval shape. Cover the foam ovals completely with heavy duty aluminum foil. Tape the the image on the front of each foil-covered foam sheet. Trace the pattern pressing heavily with a slightly dull pencil. When you remove the paper you will have an embossed image. You will no longer need the papers you traced.
Poke a hole through the two ovals that are now embossed images of the front and back of the Miraculous Medal. Thread the key ring through the "medals" and then hang on the wall near the family altar.
This craft is adapted from Seton Educational Media's Art 1. It is a wonderful book. We have used it a lot over the years for crafts related to the seasons and holidays of the liturgical year.
Another resource that is helpful for this project is the book Leading the Little Ones to Mary. There is a section on the Miraculous Medal that can be used in conjunction with this project. This book is indispensable in establishing a lifelong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary during childhood.
Consecration To The Immaculate Heart of Our Lady
Before the family altar beg for Mary's special protection of your children all throughout their lives and especially at the hour of their deaths. After this consecration renewal, pray the rosary. Parents should pray like Queen Blanche of Castile and beg to have such children as St. Louis IX. The queen had told her only son that she would have rather seen him dead at her feet than have a mortal sin on his soul. To his death, he preserved his baptismal innocence.
Renew Baptismal Vows
Praying for the preservation of your baptismal innocence is a good habit for both you and your children. Also praying for the grace of a happy death and final repentance is another good habit. Today is a good day to renew baptismal vows and a simple and effective way of doing this is praying a fervent profession of faith such as the Apostles Creed.
Besides attending Mass and praying the Rosary, these customs will engrain in your children a deep devotion to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. Do you have any fun Catholic family customs for this feast day? If so, we would love to hear about them. Post them in the comments section below.