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Pope Francis looks up at a Marian statue at the Spanish Steps in Rome yesterday (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis has asked Catholics around the world to join him in entrusting to Mary “the universal desire for peace, especially for the martyred Ukraine, which is suffering so much”. Source: CNS.

Reciting the Angelus prayer at midday yesterday, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis noted the Angel Gabriel’s words to Mary that “nothing will be impossible for God”.

“With God’s help, peace is possible; disarmament is possible,” the Pope told people gathered in St Peter’s Square. “But God wants our goodwill. May Our Lady help us to convert to God’s plans.”

In his Angelus talk at noon, Pope Francis said that while Catholics talk a lot about original sin, they often overlook the “original grace” of baptism, when “God came into our lives and we became his beloved children forever”.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception, which celebrates Mary having been conceived without original sin, is a good time to remember that “we sinners, too, have received an initial gift that has filled our life, a good greater than anything, an original grace, of which often, however, we are unaware”.

He said it was a perfect day to remember that Mary will be with each person as he or she tries to fight temptation and to live in the fullness of their baptismal “original grace”.

“We who struggle to choose what is good, we can entrust ourselves to her,” the Pope said. 

Ukraine was still on the Pope’s mind four hours later when he went to the Spanish Steps to pay homage to Mary at a statue of the Immaculate Conception and pray. 

The Pope started crying and had to pause for a moment after he prayed, “Immaculate Virgin, today I would have liked to bring you the thanksgiving of the Ukrainian people for the peace we have long asked the Lord for.”


Nothing is impossible for God, not even peace in Ukraine, pope says (By Cindy Wooden, CNS)


Pope Francis brings the prayers of the world to Our Lady (Vatican News)

Arrested Ukrainian priests ‘mercilessly tortured’ says archbishop (The Tablet)