On Solemnity of Immaculate Conception

«Beacon of Light for Humanity for All Times,» Says John Paul II

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II delivered today, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, before praying the midday Angelus with several thousand pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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1. «Tota pulchra es, Maria!»

One hundred and fifty years ago, on December 8, 1854, Blessed Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Holy Virgin.

The privilege of being preserved from original sin means that she is the first redeemed by her Son. Her sublime beauty, a reflection of that of Christ, is pledge for all believers of the victory of the divine grace over sin and death.

2. The Immaculate Conception appears as a beacon of light for humanity for all times. At the beginning of the third millennium, she leads us to believe and hope in God, in his salvation, and in eternal life. She illuminates particularly the path of the Church engaged in the New Evangelization.

3. This afternoon, during the traditional homage to the Virgin in Piazza di Spagna, I will entrust the city of Rome and the entire world to her, Immaculate Mother of the Word-made-Man. We now appeal to her powerful intercession, reciting the Angelus with filial confidence.

[After praying the Angelus, the Pope said the following:]

Yesterday afternoon, in Mosul, in Iraq, a Catholic-Armenian church and the Chaldean bishop’s palace were destroyed. I express my spiritual closeness to the faithful, shaken by the attack, and implore the Lord, through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin, that the beloved Iraqi people may at last know a time of reconciliation and peace.

I greet the pilgrims present, in particular the representatives of the Pontifical Academy of the Immaculate, headed by the Lord Cardinal Andrzej Maria Deskur. Beloved: on this day of celebration I am particularly close to you. I pray for you and encourage you to persevere in your devotion to Mary Immaculate.

May the Virgin obtain for all the graces desired.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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