In the Eternal City, some things change.
And it was Rome’s first female mayor – Virginia Raggi from the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement – who greeted the Pope on Thursday for his traditional tribute to the Virgin Mary, on the Roman Catholic feast day of the Immaculate Conception.
At a statue of the Madonna near the Italian capital’s Spanish Steps, Pope Francis prayed for the unemployed, for families trying to make ends meet and for exploited children.
“O’ Mary, our Immaculate Mother, I bring you, Mother, all the workers, men and women, and I especially entrust you those who out of necessity strive to carry out an undignified job and those who have lost their jobs or can’t find one,” he said.
Francis also prayed to the Virgin Mary for neglected children, the poor and the sick.
Thousands of Romans and tourists gather for the annual event, held on what is a public holiday.
For some, this year, it is a day they will never forget.