The Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on November 21st recognizes the start of her consecrated service to the Lord, the “entry of the most holy Theotokos into the Temple” (this is the actual title given to this feast day in the East). Jean-Jacques Olier entrusted the entire Sulpician order to the protection of Mary—“Auspice Maria”—and specifically instructed that the Feast of the Presentation become their patronal feast day, as Mary provides a perfect model for priesthood. Her docility to God’s plan, her willingness to say “yes” to God’s mysterious message given to her at the Annunciation that she would bear a Son, and her great prayer of thanksgiving and praise, the Magnificat, are all emblematic of the ideal ministry of priests who are called to dedicate themselves entirely to the Lord’s service. Mary’s assent, “Let it be done to me according to your word,” is the perfect priestly response to the call to serve the Lord through the ministry of Word and Sacrament.
The Society of St. Sulpice received permission from the Holy See in 1996 to add this feast to their special liturgical calendar. This year, Theological College seminarians and faculty commemorated this “Sulpician Christmas” on November 24th, beginning with the celebration of the Eucharist in Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel.