THE FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
(From ecclesiastical documents, Divine Office for feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 1962 Breviary. Reproduced from the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Bulletin for August 22, 2010)
At the beginning of the nineteenth century the Apostolic See first approved the liturgical worship by which the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary is given due honor. The way was prepared for this cult by many holy men and women. Pope Pius VII instituted the feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, to be celebrated in a devout and holy way by all the dioceses and religious congregations which had requested it. Later, Pope Pius IX added the proper Office and Mass. But the ardent zeal and hope which had arisen even in the seventeenth century and had grown day by day, that this feast should be given greater solemnity and be extended to the whole Church, was graciously fulfilled by Pope Pius XII in the year 1942, when a terrible war was spreading through almost the whole world. He had pity on the limitless hardships of the people, and because of his devotion and trust in the heavenly Mother, he solemnly commended the whole human race to her most gentle Heart and appointed that a feast with its own Office and Mass be celebrated forever and everywhere in honor of her Immaculate Heart.