(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
"Only when you cease to adore your own reflection in the pond of pride will you begin to be open to the Holy Spirit's action in you. In order to become more like God, you must turn away from your own ego and submit yourself fully to His will." (Behold I Stand at the Door and Knock, pg. 60)
"At the moment of death, neither your professional achievements nor qualifications will count. How many university degrees you earned or how many languages you know will not be important, if, in the end, all of it did not draw you closer to God. You have to carry out your work in the best way, but only so that you can express your love to God by being obedient to His will. That being the case, work will become for you a path to holiness." (Open Wide the Door to Christ, pg. 118
"We must pray literally without ceasing—without ceasing—in every occurrence and employment of our lives . . . that prayer of the heart which is independent of place or situation, or which is rather a habit of lifting up the heart to God as in a constant communication with Him." -Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Elizabeth Seton told her sisters, “The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills it; and thirdly, to do it because it is his will.”