Pope Francis celebrates Feast of Immaculate Conception after almost two weeks of illness

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After almost two weeks of praying the Angelus remotely…

…Pope Francis rejoined thousands of pilgrims to pray the Angelus. His health had improved and he had much less trouble breathing. The Pope was even able to deliver his entire speech and announce initiatives for 2024.

POPE FRANCIS
Now, I have the joy of announcing that on May 25 and 26 next year, we will celebrate in Rome the first World Children's Day.
What kind of world do we wish to pass on to children as they grow up? Like Jesus, we want to put children at the center and care for them.

In the afternoon, Pope Francis stopped to visit the image of the patroness of Rome, the Salus Populi Romani, in the Basilica of St. Mary Major. There, he prayed in silence for a few moments.

He left Our Lady with golden roses, a gift popes usually give to sovereigns, rulers and at Marian shrines.

Then, Pope Francis headed to Piazza di Spagna, where the statue dedicated to the Immaculate Conception is located. Every year since 1953, popes have come to this place to pay homage to the Virgin Mary.

The Pope was able to deliver his entire speech and he used the occasion to remember those living in violence.

POPE FRANCIS
Mother, look at the suffering Ukrainian people, look at the Palestinian people, at the Israeli people plunged in a spiral of violence.

In his message, Pope Francis prayed for all people who are facing war and terrorism, and, above all, for mothers. He especially remembered mothers who have children with addictions and women who suffer from abuse.

This image of the Virgin was erected in 1857, a few years after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It was placed in front of the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See as Spain was one of the countries that showed the greatest support for this affirmation of faith. Ususally at the end of this tribute, popes greet the Spanish ambassador present in the square.

JRB
TR: KG

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