Monday 9 April is the feast of the Annunciation when we recall the Virgin Mary first knowing that she was pregnant.
In nine months it will be Christmas.
This year the feast was postponed from its usual 25 March date because it coincided with Palm Sunday.
Today the focus is on Nazareth where Mary was confronted by the angel giving her the news that she was to be the Mother of Jesus.
Last night in the town there was an outdoor procession and later a candlelit vigil inside the large Church of the Annunciation which covers the site of Mary’s house.
Today, especially in France, there will be Together with Mary prayer services organised by Christians and Muslims to honour the Virgin Mary.
This is a tradition which has grown in the last decade having begun in Lebanon.
Mark Byford will be at Winchester Cathedral this evening to launch his book The Annunciation: A Pilgrim’s Quest ( Winchester University Press; £44). This includes a quote from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth Philip Egan who says that the Annunciation is “the most important event in human history”.