Rome (AsiaNews) – This afternoon, Pope Francis visited Piazza di Spagna, as part of the celebrations for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. "There is room for everyone under your cloak because you are the Mother of Mercy,” said the prayer he wrote and rectied for the occasion, in front of the column and statue erected after the proclamation of the Marian dogma in 1854
The pope prayed, bringing to Mary families, children, youth, seniors, especially the sick and the imprisoned, i.e. "those who struggle". He also entrusted to her the first steps of the "journey of reconciliation" of the Jubilee.
At the end, the pontiff greeted various authorities, including Card Fernando Filoni and Mgr Savio Hon, respectively prefect and secretary of Propaganda Fide, whose palace is on one side of the square.
After warmly greeting a group of sick people and children, Francis went to the basilica of Saint Mary Major, where he remained in prayer before the image of Mary, Salus Populi Romani, to whom he is very devoted. What follows is the prayer to Mary he recited as a token of his devotion to the Immaculate:
On this day, the feast of your Immaculate Conception,
I pay homage to you in faith and love
On behalf of God’s holy people who live in this city and diocese.
I come before you in the name of families, with their joys and troubles;
On behalf of children and young people, exposed to life’s challenges;
On behalf of the elderly, burdened with age and years of experience;
I come especially
On behalf of the sick, the imprisoned,
And those who struggle.
As a shepherd I also come here on behalf of all those
Who have come from far-away lands in search of peace and work.
There is room for everyone under your cloak,
Because you are the Mother of Mercy.
Your heart is full of tenderness towards all your children:
The tenderness of God, who, through you, became incarnate
And became our brother, Jesus,
Saviour of every man and woman.
Looking at you, Our Immaculate Mother,
We see the victory of divine mercy
Over sin and all its consequences;
And within us hope for a better life is rekindled,
Free from slavery, rancour and fear.
Here, today, in the heart of Rome, we hear your motherly voice
Calling all of us to walk towards that door,
Which represents Christ.
You tell everyone: ‘Come, come closer, with confidence;
Enter and receive the gift of mercy;
Do not be afraid, do not be ashamed:
The Father awaits you with open arms.
He is waiting for you with open arms
He will forgive and welcome you into his house.
Come, all those in search of peace and joy.’
We thank you, Immaculate Mother,
Because in this journey of reconciliation
you do not make us walk alone but accompany us,
you stand by us and help us through every difficulty.
May God bless you, now and forever. Amen.