(Vatican Radio) Following a tradition laid out by his predecessors, Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception by travelling to Piazza di Spagna where he venerated the statue named for the Marian Feast.
The celebration began with a reading from the book of Revelation in which Mary is described as a “woman, clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and around her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev. 12:1). The Holy Father then recited a prayer to the Immaculate Conception, in which he asked Our Lady to “awaken in us a renewed desire for holiness,” and to “make present all of the Gospel’s beauty” in our lives. He went on to ask Mary’s intercession in helping us remain attentive to the Lord’s voice, and to never be indifferent to the cry of the poor, the sick, the elderly, of children, and every human life. Before taking leave of the Piazza, the Holy Father greeted the sick and disabled who had gathered in the Square for the celebrations.
After the celebrations, Pope Francis paid a visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major where he said a private prayer before the image of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani. The statue of the Immaculate Conception, venerated by the Holy Father this Sunday, was consecrated on December 8, 1857 several years after the dogma which states that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin was adopted by the Church. It has since become a tradition for the Pope to venerate the statue each year on December 8 as part of the celebrations for the Marian feast.
of the Vatican Radio website
"As we anticipate your coming to us a humble child this
Christmas, Lord Jesus, help us to embrace your gospel with simple, childlike faith: faith that is centered in humble gratitude for the gift of life itself; faith that inspires us to embrace your Spirit of understanding compassion; faith that is focused on making your Father's kingdom of reconciling peace a reality in our time and place." (Waiting in Joyful Hope-Jay Cormier)
"Come, O Christ, Healer and Worker of Wonders! May we trust in your Word to heal our afflictions and illnesses; may we hope in your light to shatter the darkness of our despair and pain. Let us live the Advent of our lives with faith in your compassion, trust in your grace, and hope in your Easter promise."
(Waiting in Joyful Hope by Jay Cormier)
"I'm blessed because of my faith, because you don't have to worry about the future, because I know who holds my future. A lot of times people use that as a cliche, but it is something I try to live by. It really gives you a lot of peace in whatever circumstance you are in." (Tim Tebow about his release from the NE Patriots on Saturday)
"JESUS DEIGNED TO teach me this mystery. He set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers. And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be."
“Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.” (autobiography: Story of a Soul)