The Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is normally celebrated on March 25 (tomorrow), which is nine months before the Feast of Christmas. It is also known as the Feast of the Incarnation and the Annunciation of the Lord.
The feast marks a gospel episode that has been portrayed in art countless times through the centuries, often with the angel Gabriel kneeling before a standing Mary.
Of course, the town of Ave Maria is named after this Incarnation episode. Fronting Ave Maria Boulevard (but with the altar facing east) and situated in the middle of Annunciation Circle, the Oratory at the very center of town features the massive Annunciation sculpture, carved here in town in glistening white Carrara marble by Márton Váró from 2009 to 2011. The sculpture is composed of huge carved blocks that are stacked on top of one another and set into the arched tympanum on the front of the Oratory. The carved block portraying Mary’s head and torso was lowered into place from a crane at 6:00 p.m. on January 7, 2011, at which point onlookers joyfully prayed the Angelus (led by Dan Guernsey).
This is how the Annunciation story is told in Luke 1:26-38:
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.