Pope Francis asked today on the feast of the Immaculate Conception in Rome to protect the rights of families who leave their countries and face indifference because "human rights go before any, requirement, however legitimate it may be" .
Pope Francis sent this message during the prayer he gave in the traditional offering of flowers before the column of the Immaculate in the Roman Plaza of Spain.
The pontiff had previously come to pray at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and arrived at the Plaza de España at around 15.45 local time (14.45 GMT), where hundreds of people were waiting for him.
During his prayer, Francis recalled that the Virgin Mary and Joseph had to leave their country, Nazareth, and go to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.
"You know what it means to carry life in your bosom and to feel around you indifference, rejection, sometimes contempt," he said, addressing the Virgin.
In this sense, the pontiff asked the Virgin to be close to families around the world that "live similar situations, so that they do not leave themselves", but see "their rights protected, human rights that go before any, demand, however legitimate it may be. "
The Pope also referred to "the inconveniences of everyday life" and stressed that you should not give up but put each of your part to improve things.
In relation to Rome, he encouraged citizens to pay attention to make the city a beautiful and livable place, and he also wished "wisdom, foresight, spirit of service and collaboration" for those "who have more responsible roles", so that serve the "common good" of the capital.
Finally, he asked for priests, and women of consecrated, religious and secular life.
The Pope was received upon his arrival in the Plaza of Spain by the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, with whom he exchanged a few words.
At the feet of the image of the Virgin had been deposited a center of white roses, adorned with a white and yellow ribbon, the colors of the Vatican flag.
Hundreds of people approached the square to listen to the pontiff and receive his blessing, although many had to settle to see him from afar, placed behind security fences.
Many others were able to come and greet the pope, once the prayer was over, and there were also those who could follow the ceremony from the balcony of the Embassy of Spain to the Holy See.
The new ambassador of Spain to the Holy See, María del Carmen de la Peña Corcuera, participated in the ceremony from the plaza.
The Pope dedicated a few minutes to greet one by one the sick people in wheelchairs who followed the prayer in the front row, in the square, and exchanged with them some words and several blessings, before leaving.
The papal tradition of the offering of flowers dates back to 1857, three years after the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, formulated by Pope Pius IX (1846-1878).
That year, by the will of Blessed Pius IX, this monument was erected in the Roman Plaza of Spain and it was he who blessed it on September 8, 1857 from the central balcony of the Spanish embassy to the Holy See.