Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Advent and the season of waiting for a Saviour’s birth, beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. While elsewhere wars rage and the voices raised sound shrill or demented.
From the Catholic Herald‘s account:
Concluding the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the opening of the Holy Door, Pope Francis prayed that through Mary, Christians may recognise the victory of divine mercy over sin.
Amid tight security, the Pope made his way to the bustling city centre on Tuesday afternoon to venerate a statue of the Immaculate Conception at the Spanish Steps in the heart of Rome.
Reciting a prayer composed especially for the occasion, the Pope said he came not only in the name of families, young people and the elderly, but for the sick, the imprisoned and “those who arrived from faraway lands in search of peace and work.”
The Pope placed them under the maternal care of the “Mother of Mercy” whose “heart is full of tenderness toward all your children.”
“Gazing toward you, our Immaculate Mother, we recognise the victory of divine mercy over sin and over all its consequences,” he said. “May it reignite in us the hope of a better life, free from slavery, resentments and fear.”
Recalling the day’s opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis prayed that Christians in Rome may hear Mary’s call toward “that Holy Door which represents Christ.”
Mary, he said, calls everyone to “enter and receive the gift of mercy” and to “not be afraid and ashamed.”
For listening, the old Hymn of Lourdes: