December 7, 2023 | Source & Summit
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

“The Immaculate Heart of Mary,” 2010, by Stephen B. Whatley. COURTESY OF STEPHEN B. WHATLEY

Source & Summit: Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(The faithful) taking part in the Eucharistic sacrifice, which is the source and summit of the whole Christian life, offer the Divine Victim to God, and themselves along with it. 

-The Second Vatican Council fathers in Lumen Gentium, #11

Source & Summit is a feature of The Western Kentucky Catholic online, celebrating the National Eucharistic Revival: Year of Parish Revival. Intended to help Catholics of our parishes to probe the riches of our liturgical year and celebrate the liturgy well, the column will always start with the Bible readings for the Mass of the Day to help us reflect on, and help to “unpack” and expand our experiences at liturgy into the domestic church (the home) and the workplace.

Sunday reflections will be based on the Lord’s Day, the Liturgy, the Eucharist, and, occasionally, community.


Friday, December 8, 2023:

Source & Summit: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Genesis 3:9—15, 20

1 Ephesians 1:3—6, 11—12

Luke 1:26—38


Recently, during Mass, I placed consecrated hosts in several pyxes for our ministers to the homebound. As I returned the pyxes to their place on the altar I began to think about the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I was reminded that this great feast is not a celebration of Jesus’ conception; it is a celebration of Mary’s conception, a conception free of original sin.

The Immaculate Conception is a recent dogma, but the roots of the feast originate in the 5th century. It is a great Marian feast, but at its core, it is also Eucharistic. Through her fiat, Mary agreed to allow her womb to be a vessel for the Incarnation to be born into the world. Ah, but like the pyx and other sacred vessels, the Mother of God must also be pure, sacred, and in her case, without the stain of original sin. The Immaculate Conception ensures Mary is a worthy Ark for the New Covenant and is necessary for us to receive our Lord at the Eucharistic banquet.

What struck me in my reflection on the pyx as it relates to Mary is that whenever we carry the body of Christ to the sick and homebound or those in jails and prisons, we imitate Mary. When we simply visit the lonely, feed the hungry, or help support a homeless shelter, we make Christ present to others and we imitate Mary. When we advocate for peace in Ukraine, the Holy Land, Asia, and our nation, we not only imitate the Queen of Peace but also become more like her son, the Prince of Peace.

When we imitate Mary, her yes becomes our yes. We become a sacred vessel, a pyx, sometimes bringing the Blessed Sacrament to those in need, but more often by being a Eucharistic presence to all we encounter.

-Deacon Ken Bennett


You can view more of Stephen B. Whatley’s work here.


To learn more about the Diocese of Owensboro’s celebration of the National Eucharistic Revival, visit

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Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
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