The Immaculate Conception on 8 December is when we recall the conception of the Virgin Mary by her parents Anne and Joachim.
Immaculate refers to their daughter being born free from sin in preparation for her destiny as Mother of Jesus.
This afternoon the Pope would normally place white roses at the base of the Column of the Immaculate Conception near the Spanish Steps. The popular occasion with the singing of a litany has now been cancelled due to the pandemic.
Last year the Pope went without public announcement very early in the morning.
The statue of Our Lady high above is usually holding a floral wreath already placed on her arm by the Rome Fire Service.
But the traditional candle procession in Lyon will take place tonight.
Because 8 December is Mary’s conception we mark her birthday nine moths later on 8 September.