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Rome Reports

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Pope honors Blessed Mother in Piazza di Spagna

For the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis made an annual visit to Piazza di Spagna, where he paid homage to a statue of the Virgin Mary above a 12-meter high column.  Thus, the solemn ceremony was attended by political officials, including the Mayor of Rome, and began with a beautiful rendition of the song, "Ave Maria,â? before the pope began a prayer to the Virgin.  POPE FRANCIS "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.â? He continued to pray especially for the unemployed, children who are abandoned and families who are struggling with financial difficulties before greeting countless handicapped people at the event.  The statue was placed in Piazza di Spagna on September 8, 1857. Pope Pius XII started the tradition of honoring the Virgin with bouquets of white roses, which are placed at the base of the statue. This represents the proclamation of the dogma in 1854 that the Blessed Mother was conceived without original sin, the Immaculate Conception. The pope then left the brief ceremony to pray at the Basilica of St. Mary Major for a time before returning to the Vatican.  MB CTV -? -BN Up:ag