Pope Paul the Sixth led Roman Catholic worshippers in prayer in Rome's Spanish Square on Monday (8 December) in a special celebration to mark the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
GV People in St. Peter's Square PAN UP AND ZOOM IN TO Statue of Virgin Mary
MV Pope arriving by car
GV Pope kneeling at dais as officials carry wreath forward
GV Crowd listening to ceremony
MV Pope reading address
CU Crowd applauding
MV Pope blessing crowd
MV Pope entering car
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Background: Pope Paul the Sixth led Roman Catholic worshippers in prayer in Rome's Spanish Square on Monday (8 December) in a special celebration to mark the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The Square houses the basilica of Saint Maria Maggiore and a statue of the Virgin Mary.
According to Roman Catholic belief, the Virgin Mary herself marked the spot for the construction of the basilica by making snow fall there in the summer month of August.
Earlier in the day, the Pope had called for "a new holiness of life and a new fervour of love" to mark the tenth anniversary of the closing of the Vatican II Council.
His call came during a midday service -- also marking the religious feast day -- in St. Peter's Square before thousands of Italian and foreign worshippers.
In what has been described as an "unusually confiding mood" he told the assembled congregation of a dream he had that morning of a "white, very pure mantle of snow" representing purity, innocence and beauty sent by the Virgin Mary to fall over Rome and the whole world.
SYNOPSIS: For Roman Catholics all over the world, Monday held a special a significance. It was the feast day of the Immaculate Conception, holy to the Virgin Mary and in Rome, it was marked by a special celebrations by the Church's head, Pope Paul the Sixth, in the city's Spanish Square.
Thousands of Roman Catholics filled the Square -- site of the basilica of Saint Maria Maggiore, the Virgin Mary -- for the occasion. Roman Catholic belief has it that the Virgin Mary chose the site of the basilica by sending down a fall of snow on the spot during the hot summer month of August.
The day also marked the tenth anniversary of the closing of the historic Vatican II Council.
Pope Paul marked the solemnity of the feast day by reading out a special prayer. Earlier in the day he had called for a "a new holiness of life and a new fervour of love" for the coming year.
His call came during a midday blessing in St. Peter's Square where he'd told the crowd of a dream about a mantle of "white, very pure splendid snow" of purity, innocence and beauty falling over Rome and the whole world.