Every March 25, as indicated the General Roman Liturgical Calendar, the Holy Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (or sometimes called the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary). The church commemorates the day when the Angel of the Lord announced the good news “to” the Blessed Virgin Mary, which happens also to be the day when the same Angel announced the incarnation “of” the Lord Jesus Christ.
The solemnity is a fixed date. The celebration can only be transferred to another date should it fall on a Sunday in Lent (as it does this year, 2012), on Holy Week, or the Easter Octave. Liturgically, where this day should fall within Lent, the “Gloria” is sung or said. The singing of the “Alleluia” remains prohibited until the Easter Vigil of Holy Saturday Night. During the Profession of Faith, everyone is required to genuflect the words “and became Man (Nicene Creed) or “conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary (Apostles’ Creed). This is to venerate the mystery of the Incarnation, as we do during Christmas.
The celebration counts nine (9) months before Christmas, following the natural computation that a child is born nine (9) months after conception. The solemnity is also often referred to the Virginal Conception of the Lord Jesus Christ, which should NOT be confused with the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The story of the Annunciation is recorded in the Gospel according to St. Luke (Chapter 1, verses 26-38). It is traditionally held to have occurred in Nazareth, Israel. A church (of the Annunciation) now stands above the supposed site of the event.
The marvelous truth of the Annunciation is celebrated in the daily life of the Christian. Except during the Easter Season, it is commemorated during the praying of the Angelus (at 6 in morning, noontime, and 6 in the evening). It is the first Joyful Mystery of the Holy Rosary. And every Hail Mary that we pray is a memorial of this great event.
On a different note, when the calendar system of “Anno Domini (Year of our Lord)” was first introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in 525 A.D., the new year was assigned to March 25, since, according to our faith, the era of grace began with the Incarnation of the Jesus Christ.
This year too, as in recent years, on March 25 we celebrate the Feast of the Unborn, and we pray to Christ Unborn, hidden in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for all the unborn who have become victims to or are threatened by abortion.