Pope Francis paid public homage, this Thursday, to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, in Piazza di Spagna in Rome, next to the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, and conveyed to her the «supplication» of the children, fathers, mothers and elderly who are still suffering from the war in Ukraine.
«Virgin of the Immaculate, I would have liked to bring you today the gratitude of the Ukrainian people for the peace that we have been asking the Lord for a long time. Instead, I still have to present to you the plea of the children, of the elderly, of the fathers and mothers, of the young people of that tortured land,» the Pontiff prayed, amid tears, during the public homage, which has resumed after two years without being held due to the pandemic.
The Pope arrived at 3:47 p.m. in Piazza di Spagna, where he was welcomed by the Mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri, and Cardinal Vicar Angelo De Donatis. After the blessing of the large basket of white roses, listening to the litanies to the Virgin intoned by the choir of the diocese of Rome, Francis stressed that these wreaths of flowers, placed by many citizens express the love and devotion to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, according to the official Vatican website Vatican News.
In addition, the Pontiff has conveyed to the Virgin of the Immaculate «the filial love of countless men and women, not only Christians.» «Because in the midst of so many dark clouds you are a sign of hope and consolation,» he remarked.
He also brought her «the smiles of children», the «gratitude of the elderly», the «concerns of families struggling to make ends meet» and the «dreams and anxieties» of young people, «open to the future but held back by a culture full of things and poor in values, saturated with information and lacking in education, persuasive in deceit and merciless in deception».
Before leaving Piazza di Spagna, the Pope greeted, on foot and then with the help of a wheelchair, the many faithful who prayed with him.
Three hours earlier, at the Angelus, he had asked the faithful present in St. Peter’s Square to join him spiritually in the gesture of veneration of the Immaculate Conception, to whose intercession he entrusted «the universal desire for peace, especially for the martyred Ukraine, which suffers so much».