(AGI) Vatican City, Dec. 8 - During his visit to Piazza diSpagna, where he traditionally pays homage to the statue of OurLady in commemoration of the Immaculate Conception, PopeFrancis had a basket of white roses laid down at the feet ofthe statue. He brought them from the Basilica di Santa MariaMaggiore, which he visited for the 16th time since he waselected Pope on May 13, 2013. The Pope prayed: "Through yourintercession, may the power of God's love that preserved youfrom original sin, free humanity from every form of spiritualand material slavery and make God's plan of salvation bevictorious in both hearts and in history. May grace prevailover pride in us too, your children. May we become merciful asour heavenly Father is merciful". He then hailed the HolyVirgin: "Mary our Mother, today the People of God celebrate youand venerate you as Immaculate, preserved forever from thestain of sin. Accept the homage I offer you in the name of theChurch in Rome and throughout the world". (AGI).