Pope Francis returns to public veneration of Mary for Feast of Immaculate Conception
To mark the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, Pope Francis will place flowers at a statue of the Virgin Mary in Rome.
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 tradition dates back to 1953 with Pope Pius XII. Normally, it is open to the public. But the last two years were different due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020 and 2021, Pope Francis made personal visits to the statue early in the morning without the public.
This year's visit signals a return to normalcy. The Pope is scheduled to pray in front of the monument and leave flowers at a public ceremony.
This is a very special tradition for the people of Rome. It is one of the few times that the pope makes a visit out in the city as the bishop of Rome.