By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Here is a working translation by Zenit’s Deborah Castellano Lubov of the Holy Father’s remarks at the December 8, 2018, veneration at Rome’s Spanish Steps in observance of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
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Immaculate Mother, on the day of your feast, so dear to the Christian people, I come to pay you homage in the heart of Rome.

In my heart, I bring the faithful of this Church and all those who live in this city, especially the sick and the many, who for different situations, are struggling to move forward.

First of all, we want to thank you for the maternal care with which you accompany our journey: how many times we hear with tears in our eyes from those who have experienced your intercession, the graces that you ask for us to your Son Jesus!

I also think of an ordinary grace that you make to the people who live in Rome: that of facing the inconveniences of daily life with patience.

But for this we ask you the strength not to give up, indeed, to do each day our own part, so that everyone’s care makes Rome more beautiful and livable for everyone; so that the obligations done well by everyone, assures everyone’s rights.

And thinking of the common good of this city, we pray for those who hold roles of greater responsibility: grant them wisdom, foresight, a spirit of service and collaboration.

Holy Virgin,

I would like to entrust you especially to the priests of this Diocese: the parish priests, the vice-priests, the elderly priests who with the heart of shepherds continue to work for the people of God, the many priests, students from all over the world who collaborate in the parishes. For all of them, I ask you the sweet joy of evangelizing and the gift of being fathers, close to the people, merciful.

To you, a woman consecrated to God, I entrust consecrated women in religious life and in the secular life, which thanks to God, in Rome are many, more than in any other city in the world, and they form a beautiful mosaic of nationalities and cultures.

I ask you for the joy of being, like you, spouses and mothers, fruitful in prayer, in charity, in compassion.

O Mother of Jesus, one last thing I ask you, in this time of Advent, thinking of the days when you and Joseph were anxious for the imminent birth of your child, worried because there was a census and you also had to leave your country, Nazareth, and go to Bethlehem …You know, Mother, what it means to bring life into the womb and feeling around indifference, rejection, sometimes contempt.

This is why I ask you to stay close to families today in Rome, in Italy, there are similar situations in the whole world because they are not abandoned to themselves but protected in their rights, human rights that come before any legitimate need.

O Mary Immaculate, dawn of hope on the horizon of humanity, watch over this city, on homes, schools, offices, shops, on factories, hospitals, prisons; nowhere is it lacking what Rome has most precious, and which preserves for the whole world the witness of Jesus: “Love one another as I have loved you” (cf. Jn 13:34). Amen.

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