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Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2002

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Blessed Pope John Paul II's Prayer to Mary
Piazza di Spagna, 8th December 2002 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Hail Mary, full of grace!"
Immaculate Virgin, here I am at your feet once again,
full of devotion and gratitude.
I return to pray for the beloved city of Rome, for the Church,
for the whole world.
In you, "humble and highest of creatures",
divine grace had the full victory over evil.
You are for us, pilgrims on the paths of the world,
the bright model of evangelical fidelity
and the ever-living pledge of sure hope.

Virgin Mother, "Salvation of the Roman People!"
Watch over, I pray you, the beloved diocese of Rome:
over pastors and faithful, parishes and religious communities.
Watch over families especially:
may love sealed by the Sacrament ever reign between spouses,
may children walk on the paths of goodness and true freedom,
may the elderly feel surrounded by attention and affection.
Inspire, Mary, in so many young hearts,
generous replies to the "call for the mission".
May Rome be enriched by new young forces,
dedicated with enthusiasm to proclaming the Gospel in the city and in the world.

Blessed Virgin, Queen of Apostles!
Assist those who through study and prayer are preparing to labour on the many frontiers of the new evangelization.
May those it gathers, seminarians and priests, men and women religious and laity,
be ready to put their energies at the disposition of Christ in service of the Gospel to the far corners of the globe.

"Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!"
Pray, O Mother, for all of us.
Pray for humanity who suffers poverty and injustice, violence and hatred, terror and war.
Help us to contemplate with the rosary the mysteries of Him who "is our peace",
so that we will all feel involved in a persevering dedication of service to peace.
Look with special attention upon the land in which you gave birth to Jesus,
a land that you loved together with Him, and that is still so sorely tried today.
Pray for us, Mother of hope!
"Give us days of peace, watch over our way. Let us see your Son as we rejoice in heaven". Amen!

Blessed John Paul II's words at the Angelus
- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Brothers and Sisters,
1. Every day when we pray the Angelus, we repeat three times: "And the Word was made flesh". During the season of Advent, these evangelical words assume a more intense meaning because the liturgy makes us relive the atmosphere of the expectation of the Incarnation of the Word.

For this reason, Advent is the ideal season for the Solemnity of Mary Immaculate. The humble young woman of Nazareth, who with her "yes' to the angel changed the course of history, was preserved from every stain of sin from the moment of her conception. In fact, Mary was the first one to benefit by the salvation brought about by Christ, chosen from all eternity to be his Mother.

2. For this reason, today we focus our attention on the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, while our heart opens to a heartfelt hymn of thanksgiving. The liturgy celebrates the wonders that God has accomplished through her: "The joy that Eve took from us, you give to us in your Son, and you open the way to the Kingdom of heaven" (hymn of Lauds).

At the same time, we are invited to imitate her. Mary was pleasing to God because of her docile humility. To the heavenly messenger, she replied, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1,38). It is with the same interior disposition that believers are called to accept the divine will in every circumstance.

3. "We follow you, Immaculate Virgin, drawn by your holiness" (antiphon of Lauds). So today, we turn to Mary, conscious of our weakness, but sure of her constant help as our Mother.

This afternoon I will happily renew the traditional homage to her in the Piazza di Spagna, making myself the interpreter of the devotion of the diocese of Rome and of the whole Church. I invite you, dear brothers and sisters, to join me in this act of Marian faith.

Let us now ask the Immaculate Virgin to help all Christians to be authentic disciples of Christ, so that in them faith may be ever more pure, hope ever more firm, and charity more generous."