Today is the Immaculate Conception when we focus on the VIrgin Mary who gave birth to Jesus.
We are celebrating the conception of the Virgin Mary by her parents Anne and Joachim.
On 8 September in nine months, after the period of a pregnancy, we celebrate Mary’s birthday.
Mary was immaculate because she was born pure and free of sin ready to be the Mother of Jesus.
This morning in Rome a floral wreath has already been placed on the arm of Mary’s statue high up on a column in Spanish Place. This afternoon the Pope will add his flowers at the base.
In Lyon tonight, by a tradition dating from 1852, lights are placed on window ledges along the steep route uphill from the cathedral to Notre Dame de Fourvière.
After Vespers in the cathedral there is a candlelit procession which winds its way uphill to the hill-top basilica.
The big Lyon Fête des Lumières electric light and laser show is recent modern addition.