This coming Saturday, December 8, 2018, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, Pope Francis will go to the foot of the column of the Virgin Mary in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna, for a traditional prayer, stated a press release of the Vicariate of Rome.
The Archbishop Vicar Angelo De Donatis will receive the Holy Father, whose arrival at Piazza di Spagna is foreseen for 4:00 pm. The Pontiff will pray before the monument dedicated to the Virgin and place flowers at her feet.
Throughout the day Romans will render homage to the statue of Mignanelli Square. In keeping with tradition, the first will be the firemen. In honor of their 220 colleagues, who inaugurated the monument on December 8, 1857, the firemen will climb to the top of the statue at 5:30 pm. to place a floral wreath on the Virgin’s arm.
The Franciscans of the Twelve Holy Apostles will animate the day. “It’s not only about depositing flowers in an ordered way but especially about maintaining, at the heart of a day of celebration and joy, an atmosphere of reflection, of prayer and of encounter with Mary,” explained Father Aniello Stoia, parish priest of the Twelve Holy Apostles.
In that church of the center of Rome, the oldest Novena to Mary Immaculate of Rome is prayed from November 29 to December 7, at 5:45 pm. It begins with the prayer of the Rosary and the singing of the Litanies; it is followed by a Mass at 6:30 pm, presided over each evening by a Cardinal, and ends with the Franciscan song “Tota Pulchra.”
According to a tradition that goes back more than half a century, numerous groups and personalities will come in the morning to render homage to the Virgin in Piazza de Spagna, among them the Christian Associations of Italian Workers (ACLI) of Rome, the transport enterprises of the municipality of Rome and of the Latium region (Cotral-Atac) and different organizations and employees of the city of Rome.
Also in keeping with tradition, a Mass dedicated to the world of work and to lay Associations will be celebrated at 9:00 am in the church of the Trinity of Hills. It will be presided over by the Auxiliary Bishop of the center section of Rome, Monsignor Gianrico Ruzza. It will be followed by a procession of participants up to Mignanelli Square, to render homage to the Virgin.
UNITALSI (Italian National Union for the Transport of the Sick to Lourdes and to International Shrines) will also be at Piazza di Spagna, with over 100 handicapped persons and volunteers from sections of Rome-Latium, Umbria, Calabria, and Pouilles. A crown of flowers, representing UNITALSI’s logo will be placed at the foot of the Virgin’s statue to symbolize the Association’s; devotion to Mary.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester