Pope prays to the Immaculate Virgin for peace and the sacredness of life

Rome (AsiaNews) – In his prayer before the statue of Mary in Piazza di Spagna, just above the Spanish steps, the Pope called on the Virgin on the day celebrating Her Immaculate Conception to help humanity build a world in which everyone will want peace and in which there will be respect for life that wars and man's pretensions have threatened.

This year as in previous years, John Paul II visited Piazza di Spagna just after 4 pm to place a basket of roses before the statue of the Virgin that looks over the square from the top of a column.

This year the celebration is particularly important for it is the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX's  proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854.

Under a grey sky, clouds threatening rain, religious and civil dignitaries welcomed the Pontiff.

After a choir sang and thousands of faithful and pilgrims prayed, the Pope commended the "city of Rome and the world" to the protection of Our Lady.

Addressing the Mother of Christ, the Pope called on Her to help humanity "build a world in which life is always loved and defended, one in which all forms of violence are banned and peace tenaciously sought by everyone". This at a time when wars and man's pretensions vis-à-vis life and death threaten the sacredness of life.

The Pope called on Our Lady, in this Year of the Eucharist, to help the faithful "celebrate and adore with renewed faith and ardent love the holy mystery that is the Body and Blood of Christ".

The homage to the Virgin ended with the sounds of people chanting Tota pulchra.

Here is the full text of John Paul II's prayer:

Immaculate Virgin!

Once again we are here to honour You at the foot of this column from which, with love, You watch over Rome and the whole world ever since Blessed Pius IX, 150 years ago, proclaimed as a truth of the Catholic faith your preservation from the stains of sin in anticipation of the death and resurrection of Your Son Jesus Christ.

Immaculate Virgin!

Your unblemished spiritual beauty is for us a living source of confidence and hope. Having You as our Mother, Holy Virgin, is a promise of eternal salvation that reassures us on our journey in life. For this reason, confidently we turn to you, Oh, Mary! Help us build a build a world in which life is always loved and defended, one in which all forms of violence are banned and peace tenaciously sought by everyone.

Immaculate Virgin!

In this Year of the Eucharist, gives us the opportunity to celebrate and adore with renewed faith and ardent love the holy mystery that is the Body and Blood of Christ. In Your school, Oh Eucharistic Woman, teach us to remember the wonderful deeds that God never stops performing in the hearts of people.

With motherly care, Virgin Mary, always lead our steps on the path of good. Amen!

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