“You, from heaven where God has received you, see the things of earth far better than we do; but as Mother you listen to our invocations to present them to your Son, to his heart full of mercy,“ Pope Francis prayed Dec. 8.
“Immaculate Virgin, I would have liked today to bring you the thanksgiving of the Ukrainian people for the peace we have long been asking the Lord for. Instead, I have yet to present to you the supplication of the children, of the elderly, of the fathers and mothers, of the young people of that tormented land. But in reality, we all know that you are with them and with all the suffering, just as you were beside the cross of your Son.“
The statue of the Immaculate Conception sits atop a nearly 40-foot-high column.
It was dedicated Dec. 8, 1857, three years after Pope Pius IX promulgated a decree defining the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
Since 1953, it has been customary for popes to venerate the statue for the feast day. Pope Pius XII was the first to do so, walking nearly two miles on foot from the Vatican.
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