I read the following from “Blessed Pius IX,” this biography written by Roberto de Mattei, and I found it incredibly moving and I wanted to share it with all of you. Read until the end…praise be to God. Pius IX was so overwhelmed reading the definition that tears began uncontrollably running down his face. What a moment:
On Friday, 8 December 1854, the Basilica of St. Peter was opened at 6 o’clock in the morning. By 8 o’clock., it was already full of people. A solemn liturgical procession of fifty-three cardinals, forty-three archbishops and ninety-nine bishops from all over the world, went from the Sistine Chapel to the Papal altar, where Pius IX solemnly celebrated Holy Mass.
After intoning the Veni creator the Pope sat on this throne, and, keeping his tiara on his head, read out the solemn dogmatic definition in a grave but strong voice:
In honour of the holy and one Trinity, to the glory and the ornament of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic faith, and for the increase of the Christian religion, with the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and with Our own authority, we pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Holy Virgin Mary, from the first instant of her conception and through the singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ Saviour of the human race, was preserved immune from all stain of original sin, is a revealed doctrine of God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.
Everyone present affirmed that, at the solemn moment, Pius IX was invested from above by a ray of light which illuminated his face which was covered in tears. Mgr. Piolanti, who has studied the eye-witness accounts of the event, affirms, in the light of his long experience of the Vatican basilica, that at no time of the year, still less in December, can a ray of light pass through any window of the Basilica to illuminate any point of the apse where Pius IX was situated. He therefore concurs with the explanation suggested by Mother Giulia Filippani of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart, present in St. Peter’s with her family at the moment when the dogma was defined, who claims that it is impossible to explain naturally the extraordinary light which illuminated Pius IX’s face and the whole apse. ‘That light,’ she testified, was universally attributed to supernatural causes.’