Advent calendar prayer and reflection for 8 December - The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

CAFOD Healthy Mum and Baby World Gift

The gift of Healthy Mum and Baby can help mothers like Haoua in Niger 

Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour.

Luke 1:26-38

A young woman named Mary was at home. As far as we know, it was just an ordinary day. Suddenly, an angel came through her door, and told her that she would conceive the Son of God. Mary was “deeply disturbed” by these words.

We venerate Our Lady for her faith and devotion to God, and today we celebrate her Immaculate Conception. But perhaps we forget that, at this moment, she was overcome with fear.  

We feel fear present in our society and our world. Fear of the stranger. Fear of what the future will hold. Fear when we or a close family member is unwell. Fear of where the next meal will come from.

Mary, our Mother, understands our fears. As Pope Francis says, “Mary, the Mother who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world” (Laudato Si’ #241).

Haoua lives in rural Niger, Western Africa. Not long ago, Haoua was terrified. Her precious 17-month-old daughter, Hassana, was severely malnourished and in danger of dying.

Haoua brought her daughter to St Augustine’s Health Centre. Thanks to your support, the baby received the food, vitamins and supplements she so desperately needed.                                       

“If I hadn’t come here,” remembers Haoua, “I don’t know what would have happened to my baby. But my child is not suffering any more. I’m so happy about what I’ve received.”

Advent prayer

Holy Mary, full of grace, you treasure the life of Jesus in your heart. Pray for us when hope seems to fade away. Encourage us, we pray, to keep believing that nothing is impossible to God. Amen.  


If you can, please give someone you know our Healthy mum and baby World Gift. This wonderful gift can help pay for vaccinations, HIV prevention and testing, pre- and post-natal care, malaria treatment and extra food for children at risk of becoming malnourished. Thank you.

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