Today is one of the biggest holidays in Italy, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, marking her conception as free from original sin. My way of thinking about this is that she, too, needed to be saved by God in Christ, but He lovingly saved her in her conception, so as to make a way for the coming of Christ. So the glory of her being preserved from original sin is all about Christ, what was fitting for him. But she still stands in need of mercy, a mercy she received in a beautiful and unusual way.
This is a huge day for the Italians, the day that many families put up their Christmas trees and decorations, and the day the tree in front of Palazzo Venezia is lit. But even more, it is the day that the pope goes to Piazza d’Spagna and pilgrims gather and say prayers at the statue of the Immaculate Conception there. Annie, Sebastian and I braved the crowds and were there!
We also went to Mass at Santa Anna, my all time favorite church in the world.
That was after being at St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus with the pope.
And THAT huge day was after being in Rome yesterday with Sebastian and Annie, going to the Christmas market in Piazza Navona. Heaven for these two kids! Rome is sooooooo beautiful at Christmas time!