For the first time in 67 years, a traditional gesture on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in Rome will be interrupted. The pope will not go to Piazza di Spagna on Dec. 8 for the traditional veneration, in which a large crown of flowers is placed on the statue of the Blessed Mother located on this huge marble pedestal.
Instead, Pope Francis will celebrate privately to entrust the city of Rome, its inhabitants and coronavirus patients to the Blessed Mother.
December 8, 2018
“You know, Mother, what it means to bear life and feel indifference, rejection and sometimes contempt around you. For this reason I ask you to be close to the families here today in Rome, in Italy and throughout the world, who are living in similar situations, so that they are not left to their own devices.”
The decision to not go to Piazza di Spagna is an effort to prevent large gatherings and lower the risk of Covid-19 contagion.
This tradition was started by Pius XII in 1953 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Since then, every pope has prayed in this same place on Dec. 8, with the exception of this year.
Daniel Díaz Vizzi