Pope Francis visited the Piazza di Spagna in Rome on Thursday for the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, where he laid a bouquet of white roses near the Column of the Immaculate Conception and prayed especially for families and for workers.
The Holy Father made his way to Rome’s Spanish Square to pay homage to the Immaculate Virgin, just as the Bishop of Rome has done annually for the past 50 years.
Flanked by Rome’s mayor, Pope Francis placed a bouquet of white roses at the base of the Column of the Immaculate Conception and led those present in a prayer for her feast day.
He prayed especially for abandoned children, for families struggling to make ends meet, and for men and women in search of work.
He said, “We have need of your immaculate heart, to love freely, without secondary aims but seeking the good of the other, with simplicity and sincerity, renouncing masks and tricks.”
Above all, the Holy Father prayed Our Lady to “Let us not give in to discouragement, but that, trusting in your constant help, we may engage ourselves fully in renewal of self, of this city and of the entire world.”
After the prayer, the Pope greeted many of those gathered in the square and blessed the sick and elderly.
He then made a short stop at the Basilica of St. Mary Major’s, before returning to the Vatican, to pray silently before the Maria Salus Populi Romani image, the protectress of the people of Rome.
A Vatican Radio English translation of the Pope’s prayer is below:
O Mary, our Immaculate Mother,
On your feast day I come to You,
And I come not alone:
I bring with me all those with whom your Son entrusted me,
In this city of Rome and in the entire world,
That You may bless them and preserve them from harm.
I bring to you, Mother, children,
Especially those who are alone, abandoned,
And for this reason are tricked and exploited.
I bring to you, Mother, families,
Who carry forward life and society
With their daily and hidden efforts;
In a special way the families who struggle the most
For their many internal and external problems.
I bring you, Mother, all workers, men and women,
And I entrust to you especially those who, out of need,
Are forced to work in an unworthy profession
And those who have lost work or are unable to find it.
We have need of your immaculate gaze,
To rediscover the ability to look upon persons and things
With respect and awareness,
Without egotistical or hypocritical interests.
We have need of your immaculate heart,
To love freely,
Without secondary aims but seeking the good of the other,
With simplicity and sincerity, renouncing masks and tricks.
We have need of your immaculate hands,
To caress with tenderness,
To touch the flesh of Jesus
In our poor, sick, or despised brethren,
To raise up those who have fallen and support those who waver.
We have need of your immaculate feet,
To go toward those who know not how to make the first step,
To walk on the paths of those who are lost,
To find those who feel alone.
We thank you, O Mother, because in showing yourself to us
You free us of all stain of sin,
You remind us that what comes first is the grace of God,
The love of Jesus Christ who gave his life for us,
The strength of the Holy Spirit which renews all things.
Let us not give in to discouragement,
But that, trusting in your constant help,
We engage ourselves fully in renewal of self,
Of this city and of the entire world.
Pray for us, Holy Mother of God!