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A firefighter salutes after placing a wreath on a statue of Mary overlooking the Spanish Steps in Rome (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis made his traditional visit to the statue of Mary by the Spanish Steps in the centre of Rome

Pope Francis walks past an image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus after laying a white rose in front of it in St Peter's Square (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

As Mary is, so all Christians should aspire to be

St Bernadette of Lourdes

If you start praying today you can complete a novena by the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

A statue of Our Lady © Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk

The power of grace will allow us to reach new heights of holiness this year

Pope Francis is flanked by Rome Commissioner Francesco Tronca as he looks up at a statue of the Virgin Mary before praying in front of it on Tuesday (AP)

The Pope led prayers in the Piazza di Spagna on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The statue of the Virgin Mary adorned with a wreath of flowers on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 2013 (AP)

The Virgin Mary is the only woman in creation worthy of carrying Our Lord

Francis hands a copy of the bull of indiction of the Holy Year of Mercy to a Vatican official (AP)

Pope says Holy Year of Mercy is ‘a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation’

Francis prays before the Column of the Immaculate Conception (AP)

Morning Catholic must-reads: 09/12/13

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church

Benedict XVI travels to the Spanish Steps to mark the feast of the Immaculate Conception (Photo: CNS)

Benedict XVI says Mary’s immaculate conception brings joy in annual pilgrimage to Spanish Steps

Benedict XVI is framed by a Christmas tree during yesterday's Angelus (AP)

Morning Catholic must-reads: 10/12/12

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church