Every year on December 8, Pope Francis goes to Piazza di Spagna in Rome and prays to Our Lady at the statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception located on top of an ancient column, in honor of the doctrine which declares that she was conceived without original sin. Here is his prayer this year:
Mary our Mother, today the People of God celebrate you and venerate you as Immaculate, preserved forever from the stain of sin.
Accept the homage I offer you in the name of the Church in Rome and throughout the world.
Knowing that you, who are our Mother, are totally free from sin, is of great comfort to us.
Knowing that evil has no power over you, fills us with hope and strength in the daily struggle we have to face against the threats of the evil one.
But we are not alone in this struggle, we are not orphans because Jesus, before dying on the Cross, gave you to us as our Mother.
Even though we are sinners, we are still your children, children of the Immaculate, called to that holiness that shines in you by the grace of God since the beginning.
Inspired by this hope, today we invoke your maternal protection for us, our families, this city and the whole world.
Through your intercession, may the power of God’s love that preserved you from original sin, free humanity from every form of spiritual and material slavery and make God’s plan of salvation be victorious in both hearts and in history.
May grace prevail over pride in us too, your children.
May we become merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful.
During this time leading to the celebration of Jesus’ birth, teach us to go against the flow: to strip ourselves, to be humble and giving, to listen and be silent, to go out of ourselves, giving space to the beauty of God, source of true joy.
Pray for us, our Immaculate Mother!
~ Pope Francis to Our Lady at Piazza di Spagna in Rome