Happy Conception Day

In the Pro-Life movement, much is made about life beginning at conception. Most churches, especially mine, Roman Catholicism, make a big deal about life beginning at conception, as well. But in our social practice we don't follow through. And we need to.

My Birthday was March 27. I am very happily 60. It's a good milestone. No sympathy cards please. My in-laws sent me 60 dollars as a gift. I thanked them, of course. But I told them I would have been happier with 80 dollars. Not because I wanted the extra money, but because I'd be 20 years closer to heaven.

Since becoming Catholic in 1998, I'm more aware of life beginning at conception. On March 25 we celebrated Christ's conception, with the Annunciation — when Gabriel came to St. Mary and told her that she was going to be a mother. We celebrate the day that Christ was conceived in Mary's womb. The instigation for that celebration was the Council of Ephesus (431) when, condemning the Nestorian heresy, the council fathers declared that Christ possessed the fullness of human and divine character at conception, and declared Mary, "theotokos," the God-bearer and the Mother of God. It wasn't to elevate Mary, but to protect the declaration of the divinity of Christ at conception. And so, the Church celebrates Christ's Conception Day, on March 25 (Feast of the Annunciation).

That Christ was a full person at conception is a foundational element of the Church teaching that the unborn baby is indeed, also, a full person from the moment of conception. And to abort that baby is to commit murder.

 As Catholics we also celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary. That Mary was conceived without sin is a point of contention with some non-Catholics, but the fact remains that her conception is celebrated on a specific day, which in Roman Catholicism is December 8.

In our modern culture today, with the pro-abortion crowd claiming that life does not begin until birth, it makes sense that pro-life advocates should reinforce their declaration about when life begins by celebrating Conception Days. As far as I know my gestation period was normal in length, so I am going to celebrate June 27 as my Conception Day. Our daughter, April, was born on March 21, but she came 4-weeks early, so we'll celebrate her Conception Day on July 21. But as this idea matures in the hearts of parents, especially those that practice natural family planning, the actual date of conception may be known precisely. Write it down.

Which brings up the matter of sex, a topic that we should not shy away from so quickly. John Paul The Great, in his Theology of the Body, seemed to think that sex, especially for pro-creation was a good idea. Actually, there's probably not a pope that thought sex for pro-creation was a bad idea. Now, we don't have to get brazen or crude about it, but sex within marriage is a beautiful thing. And even though babies are conceived outside of marriage, their conception is a miracle, and miracles do not happen without God's blessing. While the act of adultery or fornication should never be celebrated, certainly the conception of a new life should be, because it is life, a life that demands all the dignity and respect of the most important persons alive.

So, I ask that we start celebrating Conception Days. I ask that greeting card companies (both paper and electronic), encouraged by Pro-Life organizations, create and disseminate such greetings. I ask that parents start having Conception Day parties for their children, which I envision will be great celebrations of love shown by their parents. Births, by the way, can happen with just the mother and the child present, in the same unfortunate way that there are many single moms out there raising children. Neither the birth nor the raising should be done alone, but they can be.

On the other hand, conceptions require that Daddy be present, just the way a daddy should be present in raising the child. So, it is important that during Conception Day parties, a picture be taken of Mom, Dad, and the Child. On birthdays you can take pictures of just the kid, but not on Conception Days. We need to celebrate the family, and that includes Mom and Dad and children. Let's get fathers back in the picture, like they have to be in the first place.

So, Happy Conception Day. Celebrate it. It's when a miracle occurred. It is when life began, for all of us.

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  • Guest

    Fine with me.

    About time the dads planned a party for the kids.  We'll see how this flies when he has to do all the baking, decorating, card-buying, etc.

    Oh, you mean he thought Mom would just add it to her to-do list…

  • Guest

    Mary,

    If your husband (presuming you have one [edit:  oops, I see you do]) is dilatory in this regard, it suggests either that he hasn't been trained to love you properly, or worse, that he's mastered the Cosby Maneuver (i.e., incompetence at unpleasant tasks so great that it is better to not assign them to him).

    Gentle discipline and correction can remedy this condition. Use of cattle prods is most likely counter-productiveWink

  • Guest

    I'm not really seeing how cattle prods would work. But I do know that overworked moms really do need extra hands. I've always said I need to be an octopus…eight hands would help.

     

    But do we have to have an all-out party? Maybe special prayers at dinner or kid gets to have a favorite meal that day. Celebrations can be simple things, too.

  • Guest

    I like the idea of Dad's planning the special prayers, the picture (of the three of you, or more in case of twins etc.), the party, the amusement park trip, the boat ride — something that DAD does, in celebration of the child's conception…but Mom has to be there. Now that I've said that I have to go figure out when those days are for the 23 people in my extended family. My wife, Pam, will love this. Think of the psychological impact this will have on our nation?! Laughing

  • Guest

    Well, here is a nice wrinkle for you all to consider:

    My husband was not there for the conception.  My kids are all grown actually anyway, but my husband is their step-father.  He is a real father — much more worthy of the name than their bio-dad. And for the curious, yes, I am in a sacramental marriage having converted as a divorced adult, with a declaration of nullity and subsequent marriage as a Catholic to a Catholic man. My husband is a real Saint Joseph kind of guy who has been a genuine father to my kids, even the ones who were already grown when we married consider him to be their dad.

    But I guess you can see that there would be a lot of kids (like adopted ones) and dads, for whom this whole thing wouldn't work.

    As for the point about additional work for mom — a bit of a gentle tease there for Dr. Williams, who I am sure is a great dad and husband and very helpful to his wife — still I know that a lot of moms would look at this and think, "Holy fright! Not another thing to do!"

    The amusement park idea is wonderful.  So moms, let's be honest here: how many of you think that Dad should take the kids to the amument park for the day while you stay home alone and soak in the tub? That might put Mom in such a good mood that you will end up with two kids celebrating that conception day! LOL.

  • Guest

    Mary, Love your comment. You should copyright "Holy Fright!" Sounds like the name of a funny blog for moms, which I'd subscribe to. Actually, though, I'm the one in my family that tries to get out of all the parties. Within a few miles of us we have 20-30 family members whose birthdays, anniversaries, plus national and church holidays, add up to about 3 events a month, to which everyone and their friends are invited, and which are all nearly 8-hour long affairs — it takes that long to get through the food line. The moms seem to love this stuff, and go to great lengths to decorate the house, build cake castles, construct elaborate dioramas, scrapbooks, and then shop for cards, presents, et al ad nausea. The man of the house gets to clean up, which is actually an easier task.

  • Guest

    At our house, we'd have to add this to our celebration of our Christian birthdays, that is, of course, our Baptismal dates. So with ten of us in my family, that's thirty dates to remember!

    Party house!

  • Guest

    Reminds me of in a strange way of going to Ottawa, Canada when JPII was there.  My parents had met, courted and started their family there so among other sites we children were dragged to and had pointed out to us was the boarding house where I was conceived. : – )

     

     

  • Guest

    Hey the more celebrations the better!  We can certainly prove that Catholics are not boring and that our Faith is a Faith of Joy!!!!   Now, time to dig out those old NFP charts…..

  • Guest

    I've been celebrating my conception day for years, but this is a very great  expansion of that idea!

    Terry   ><>

  • Guest

    This is an outstand idea!  Date of Life Foundation has been trying to spread this message since 2002.   Please check:

    http://www.dateoflife.com.  At DOLF we provide free e-cards and a reminder service for Date of the Annunciation, Baby Loss (Miscarriage) and Life Dates (Conception). See http://www.dateoflife.com/greetings/index.php

    At DOLF we hope to change societal values to recognize Life Dates as being more important than Birth Dates to support unborn children's rights.
    Thanks and God bless,
    Mark Smith
    Date Of Life Foundation
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