Pope Francis entrusted the world to Mother Mary with a prayer before the column of Immaculate Conception at Rome's Piazza di Spagna on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, on December 8.
The Pope prayed, "Thank you, our Mother! Looking to you who is without sin, may we continue to believe and hope that love might conquer hatred, that truth might conquer lies, that pardon might conquer offences, and that peace might conquer war. So be it!"
The Pope prayed for peace in the world, especially for peace in "martyred" Ukraine.
In the prayer to Our Lady, he said, "I bring you the thanks and supplications of all your children, near and far."
The Pope gathered the prayers and thanksgivings of people of all ages, including children, the elderly, and families, and he prayed for peace in Ukraine.
During his prayer, he even stopped to shed a tear because he was thinking about the troubled land.
He also brought forth young people's prayers for the future and young couples who seek inspiration from the Blessed Virgin Mary and Joseph.
The Pope honours Our Lady every year on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which the Church celebrates on December 8.
On this feast day, the Holy Father usually places a bouquet of white roses at the base of the Column of the Immaculate Conception and prays for her intercession.
In the last two years, he has only gone there privately and very early in the morning because of Covid-19 restrictions; but this year, the Pope prayed with the audience.
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the "unique grace and privilege" that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, from the moment of her conception, was preserved from all stains of original sin because of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the Human Race.
The Church has always believed in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, but it wasn't officially defined until 1854 by Blessed Pope Pius IX.
In 1857, a memorial column was built in Piazza Mignanelli, near the Spanish Steps, and the Piazza di Spagna in Rome.
Popes have visited Mother Mary on the day of the feast since 1953.
On his way to the Column of the Immaculate Conception, the Pope prayed at the icon Salus Populi Romani in Rome. The Blessed Mother symbol remembers how Rome was spared from a plague.
St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, carried the picture from the Holy Land.
St. Gregory the Great took the picture in a procession in 591 to pray for an end to the plague during his papacy.
When the plague ended, the Pope crowned Mary and the Child Jesus with gold and gems. - With inputs from Vatican News
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