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Monday, December 9, 2013


Vatican City, 8 December 2013 (VIS) – This Sunday, 8 December, was the first time that Pope Francis has paid the traditional homage to Mary Immaculate in Rome's Piazza di Spagna. During his journey by jeep from the Vatican to the centre of Rome, the Holy Father was warmly received by Roman faithful and greeted the thousands of people gathered in the streets near the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, opposite the statue of the Virgin, to which the Pope offers a floral wreath on the day of the Immaculate Conception.

As is traditional, the Pope stopped briefly in front of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity where he received the tribute from the Via Condotti Storeowners Association, and proceeded on foot to the Square, where he embraced several children and patients in wheelchairs, and shook hands with many people. After greeting Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of the city of Rome, and Ignazio Marino, mayor of the capital, he recited the following prayer, composed specially for the occasion:

Virgin most holy and immaculate,
to you, the honour of our people,
and the loving protector of our city,
do we turn with loving trust.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
In you there is no sin.

Awaken in all of us a renewed desire for holiness:
May the splendour of truth shine forth in our words,
the song of charity resound in our works,
purity and chastity abide in our hearts and bodies,
and the full beauty of the Gospel be evident in our lives.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
In you the Word of God became flesh.

Help us always to heed the Lord’s voice:
May we never be indifferent to the cry of the poor,
or untouched by the sufferings of the sick and those in need;
may we be sensitive to the loneliness of the elderly and the vulnerability of children,
and always love and cherish the life of every human being.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
In you is the fullness of joy born of life with God.

Help us never to forget the meaning of our earthly journey:
May the kindly light of faith illumine our days,
the comforting power of hope direct our steps,
the contagious warmth of love stir our hearts;
and may our gaze be fixed on God, in whom true joy is found.

You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
Hear our prayer, graciously hear our plea:
May the beauty of God’s merciful love in Jesus abide in our hearts,
and may this divine beauty save us, our city and the entire world.


After the act of veneration, the Pope went on to the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where, as announced during the Angelus, he prayed before the image of Mary “Salus populi romani”, for all and especially for the inhabitants of the capital.

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