12/05/2004, 00.00
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Pope invites the faithful to honour the Immaculate Conception

There will be a solemn celebration on December 8 in St Peter Basilica. In the afternoon, homage will be paid to the statue of the Immaculate Conception in Piazza di Spagna.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which occurred 150 years ago, is in Pope John Paul II's thoughts, including those he expressed before today's Angelus in St Peter's Square.

The dogma asserts that Mary, Mother of Jesus, was preserved from original sin, that evil does not have power over everything, and that, in the Church and the entire world, there is a certain space and degree of liberty free from corruption.

The Pope went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes on August 14-15 to celebrate this dogma. And, many times, he commended the fate of the world to the Immaculate Conception, sign of hope.

Here are the Pope's remarks in introducing the Marian prayer:

"It is with intimate joy that we are preparing ourselves to celebrate the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which, this year, has a special meaning. We commemorate in fact the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of this important Marian dogma."

"We shall remember it this coming December 8 with a solemn Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica, where, in 1854, the Blessed Pius IX, along with many bishops from every corner the world, proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception."

"We shall thus honour the Tota pulchra, She whom God chose as Mother of His only Son.

Like every year, I shall go to Piazza di Spagna for the traditional homage to the Immaculate Conception."

"I invite all of you, dear Romans and pilgrims, to join me in this act of filial veneration to our Celestial Mother".

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