Pope prays at Immaculate Conception statue

An hour before sunrise yesterday, Pope Francis placed a basket of white roses at the base of a statue of the Immaculate Conception in the center of Rome, praying that Mary would help all who suffer. The pope went to the Spanish Steps at about 6:15 a.m. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was the second year in a row that the pope made an unannounced, early morning visit to the statue to avoid drawing a crowd.