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Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2003

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Blessed Papa John Paul II's Prayer to Mary
Piazza di Spagna, 8th December 2003 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Queen of Peace, pray for us!

On the feast of your Immaculate Conception
I return to venerate you, O Mary, at the foot of this statue that from Piazza di Spagna allows your motherly gaze to sweep across the ancient city of Rome, so dear to me.
I have come here this evening to pay you the homage of my deep devotion.
In this act countless Romans join me on this square;
their love has followed me always, through all the years of my service to the See of Peter.
I am here with them to set out on the journey towards the 150th anniversary of the Dogma that we celebrate today with filial joy.

Queen of Peace, pray for us!

To you we turn our gaze with stronger trepidation,
to you we hasten back with more insistent trust in these times scarred by a multitude of doubts and fears for the present and future destiny of our planet.
To you, the first-fruits of humanity redeemed by Christ, set free at last from the slavery of evil and sin,
we raise together our heartfelt, trusting plea:
listen to the cry of pain of the war victims, of the victims of the many forms of violence that bathe the earth in blood.
Dispel the shadows of sorrow and of loneliness, of hatred and of revenge.
Open the minds and hearts of all to forgiveness!

Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Mother of mercy and of hope
obtain for the men and women of the third millennium the precious gift of peace;
peace in hearts and families, in communities and among peoples;
peace above all for those Nations where people fight and die every day.
Obtain that every human being of every race and culture may encounter and accept Jesus,
who came down to earth in the mystery of Christmas to give "his" peace to us.

O Mary, Queen of Peace,
give us Christ, the world's true Peace!"

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

1. "Tota pulchra es Maria - You are all fair, O Mary".

Today the Church is celebrating the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If Christ is the day that never fades, Mary is its dawn, shining with beauty.

Chosen in advance to be the Mother of the incarnate Word, Mary is at the same time the first-fruits of his redeeming action. The grace of Christ the Redeemer acted in her in anticipation, preserving her from original sin and from any contagion of guilt.

2. This is why Mary is "full of grace" (Lk 1: 28), as the Angel affirms when he brings her the announcement of her divine motherhood. The human mind cannot claim to understand so great a miracle and mystery. It is faith which reveals to us that the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin is a pledge of salvation for every human creature, a pilgrim on this earth. Again, it is faith which reminds us that by virtue of her unique position, Mary is our steadfast support in the arduous struggle against sin and its consequences.

3. This afternoon, following a beautiful tradition, I will go to Piazza di Spagna. In this way, I will pay homage to the Immaculate Virgin. Blessed Pope Pius IX had a statue of her set on a column in eternal memory of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, proclaimed on 8 December 1854. With today's pilgrimage, therefore, we enter the 150th anniversary of that solemn act of the Church's Magisterium.

I invite you straightaway to join me in praying for the intercession of Mary Immaculate for the Church, for the city of Rome and for the whole world.