Blessed Pius IX
feast day 7 February. Through his whole life he was very devout to the Blessed Virgin. On 8 December 1854, in the presence of more than 200 bishops, he proclaimed the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin as a dogma of the Church. He also fostered the devotion to the Sacred Heart, and on 23 Sept., 1856, extended this feast to the whole world with the rite of a double major. At his instance the Catholic world was consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 16 June, 1875. He also promoted the inner life of the Church by many important liturgical regulations, by various monastic reforms, and especially by an unprecedented number of beatifications and canonizations.