As Rome's Christmas shopping season officially kicked off on December 8, Pope Francis paid a personal visit to Via Condotti, a street in the heart of the shopping district lined with luxurious stores like Dior, Armani, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier.
He prayed aloud in front of a statue of Mary for people to "never be left indifferent to the cries of the poor," reports The Washington Post. December 8 marks a church holiday honoring Mary, mother of Jesus, known as Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and it is a papal tradition to offer a public prayer on this day.
He lived up to his reputation as the People's Pope, sitting with his chauffeur in the front seat of his Ford Focus as he drove from the Vatican to Rome's Spanish Steps, to pray in front of the statue of Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception, reports La Stampa. He prayed that Mary would help everyone "to remain listening, attentively to the voice of the Lord," so that "the cry of the poor may not leave us indifferent, the suffering of the sick and the one who is in need may not find us distracted, the solitude of the elderly and the fragility of children may move us," and that everyone “may always love and venerate every human life”.
Pope Francis has been a vocal advocate for the poor and downtrodden, attacking the current economic state of the world which has the potential to foster inequality. He criticized "unfettered capitalism" in his apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium," and will be leading a worldwide wave of prayer for the hungry on Dec. 10th, Human Rights Day.