"You never stop loving your children": Pope Francis' Prayer for the Immaculate Conception

Statue of the Immaculate Conception in Rome's Piazza di Spagna Dec. 8, 2019. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

For the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Pope Francis on Sunday venerated a statue of the Virgin Mary located in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna, reciting a prayer he wrote for the occasion.

“I entrust to you all those who, in this city and in the whole world, are oppressed by distrust, by discouragement due to sin; those who think that for them there is no more hope, that their faults are too many and too great, and that God has no time to waste with them,” the pope prayed Dec. 8.

“I entrust them to you, because you are not only a mother, and as such you never stop loving your children, but you are also the Immaculate, full of grace, and you can reflect right into the deepest darkness a ray of the light of the Risen Christ.”

“We thank you, Immaculate Mother,” he continued, “for reminding us that, by the love of Jesus Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin, but free, free to love, to love each other, to help each other as brothers, even if different from us.”

On the feast day, Pope Francis also offered a prayer before the Byzantine Marian icon Salus Populi Romani in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

The statue of the Immaculate Conception in Piazza di Spagna sits atop a nearly 40-foot-high column. It was dedicated Dec. 8, 1857, just a few years after the Catholic Church proclaimed the doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Since the 1950s, it has been a custom for popes to venerate the statue for the feast day.

The statue is adorned with flower wreaths hung around Mary’s outstretched arms and laid at the base of the statue.

Below is the full text of the original prayer Pope Francis offered for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Dec. 8.

O Mary Immaculate,
we gather around you once again.
The more we go on in life
the more our gratitude to God increases
for giving to us as a mother, we that are sinners,
You, who are the Immaculate.
Among all human beings, you are the only one
preserved from sin, as the mother of Jesus
Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
But this your unique privilege
it was given to you for the sake of us all, your children.
In fact, looking at you, we see the victory of Christ,
the victory of God's love over evil:
where sin abounded, that is, in the human heart,
grace overflowed,
for the gentle power of the Blood of Jesus.
You, Mother, remind us that, yes, we are sinners,
but we are no longer slaves to sin!
Your Son, with his Sacrifice,
He broke the dominion of evil, He won the world.
Your heart tells this to all generations
as clear as the sky where the wind has dispeled every cloud.

And so you remind us that it's not the same thing
to be sinners and to be corrupt: it is very different.
It is one thing to fall, but then, repent, confess it
and rise again with the help of God's mercy.
Another thing is the hypocritical connivance with evil,
the corruption of the heart, which is impeccable outside,
but inside is full of evil intentions and petty selfishness.
Your clear purity recalls us to sincerity,
to transparency, to simplicity.
How much we need to be released
from the corruption of the heart, which is the most serious danger!
This seems impossible to us, we are so inured,
and instead it is at hand. Enough
to raise our eyes to your Mother's smile, to your pristine beauty,
to feel again that we are not made for evil,
but for good, for love, for God!

For this, O Virgin Mary,
today I entrust to you all those who, in this city
and in the whole world, are oppressed by distrust,
by discouragement due to sin;
those who think that for them there is no more hope,
that their faults are too many and too great,
and that God has no time to waste with them.
I entrust them to you, because you are not only a mother,
and as such you never stop loving your children,
but you are also the Immaculate, full of grace,
and you can reflect right into the deepest darkness
a ray of the light of the Risen Christ.
He, and He alone, breaks the chains of evil,
free from the most relentless addictions,
dissolves from the most criminal ties,
softens the most hardened hearts.
And if this happens inside people,
how the face of the city changes!
In small gestures and in great choices,
vicious circles become virtuous little by little,
the quality of life becomes better
and the most breathable social climate.

We thank you, Immaculate Mother,
for reminding us that, by the love of Jesus Christ,
we are no longer slaves to sin,
but free, free to love, to love each other,
to help each other as brothers, even if different from us.
Thank you for encouraging us with your candor
not to be ashamed of good, but of evil;
help us to keep the evil one away from us,
who with deceit draws us to himself, into the coils of death;
give us the sweet memory that we are children of God,
the Father of immense goodness,
the eternal source of life, beauty and love. Amen.


ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]