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Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of the St Mary Major's Basilica in Rome (AP)

‘Let us pass through the Holy Door of Mercy knowing the Virgin Mary is at our side,’ the Pope said

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

Pope Francis with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in St Peter's Square (AP)

The Holy Father is never afraid to show that he defers to Our Lady

A nun prays the Rosary (CNS photo/Massimiliano Migliorato, Catholic Press Photo)

Please support the Dominicans as they approach this milestone in their history

A boy holds a holy card and rosary as students wait for Pope Francis in Harlem last month (CNS)

We need to get beyond the idea that the rosary is just for extremely pious Catholics

The statue of Our Lady of Walsingham in the Lady Chapel at Corpus Christi

The refurbished Lady Chapel at Corpus Christi, near Covent Garden, reminds us that devotion to the Blessed Virgin is a central part of English Catholicism

Marian processions, such as this one at the Vatican, have made a surprise comeback in England (CNS)

Procession has increased five times in size since its return

A statue of Mary and the child Jesus is carried in procession as Pope Francis leads a Marian prayer service in St Peter's Square (Photo: CNS)

Archbishop McMahon and Missionaries of Charity are to lead hundreds of people through the city

Pope Francis points to a statue of Our Lady of Fatima during his general audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday (CNS)

The Pontiff started a new series of audience talks looking at the ‘real life’ of families today