The Feast of the Immaculate Conception Sunday December 8 has been honored in Rome by Pope Francis visiting Piazza di Spagna to pray, in tradition, before the statue of Mary. During the celebration of the Marian Feast, a Holy Day of obligation for Catholics and a national holiday in Italy, Pope Francis included Mother Mary in his Sunday Angelus by saying to all in St. Peter’s square, “On this feast day, then, contemplating our Immaculate Mother, we also recognize our true destiny, our deepest vocation: to be loved, to be transformed by love.” Pope Francis states in his message the Immaculate Conception of Mother Mary "...is the fruit of God's love which saves the world."
Mary with willingness to become the Mother of God is considered to be, “Full of Grace”, was free of Original Sin since the moment of her conception and remained sinless her entire life. Former Popes have traveled to pray before the monument of Mary, dated December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX officially declared the Immaculate Conception a dogma of the Church.
Pope Francis went on to visit with particular crowd attendees according to Vatican Radio, as he called on those present just moments before to, “never be indifferent to the cry of the poor, the sick, the elderly, of children, and every human life.” The month of December hosts a multitude of holy days of obligation in the Catholic church. The religious days of Advent before Christmas are full of joy and love of the Virgin Mary. In Italy, most shops will remain open since this feast day did not fall during the business week. Pope Francis concluded his message today with a wish for all to have a good lunch.