Rome: Pope Francis makes surprise dawn visit to Immaculate Conception statue in heavy rain

Vatican had announced that pontiff would not be making traditional pilgrimage to avoid covid-19 contagion among crowds.

Pope Francis made a surprise visit to the statue of the Immaculate Conception near the Spanish Steps in central Rome at 07.00 on Tuesday 8 December.

The pope's private visit, in heavy rain, came days after the Vatican announced that the pontiff would not make his customary afternoon visit to Piazza Mignanelli due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis was photographed wearing a mask and holding a black umbrella, his head bowed in prayer.

The pope brought a bouquet of white roses which he laid at the base of the column, in a papal tradition dating back to 1953.

After his visit to Piazza di Spagna the pope travelled to the Basilica di S. Maria in Maggiore where he celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Nativity before returning to the Vatican.

Photo Vatican News

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Address Piazza Mignanelli, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome: Pope Francis makes surprise dawn visit to Immaculate Conception statue in heavy rain

Piazza Mignanelli, 00187 Roma RM, Italy