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In the sign of Mary

“We prayed to Our Lady, that she bless us all: you, me, and the whole world. We need Our Lady, for her to protect us”. Enclosed in these words, addressed to the faithful at the basilica, is the meaning of Pope Francis' visit to the Marian Shrine in Pompeii. 

On Saturday morning, 21 March, before heading to Naples, the Pontiff wished to entrust his pastoral visit to the protection of the Virgin Mary. And in order to do this, he stopped at the Shrine founded by Bl. Bartolo Longo, which is visited by millions pilgrims every year.

It has become custom that every time the Pope goes on a visit he entrusts his journey to the protection of the mother of Jesus. He typically goes to the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome, where he stops to pray in front of Salus popoli Romani. Today, however, one week after inviting the Church on an inner visit to encounter, understand and welcome the mercy of the Father, Francis went to the foot of Mary, the best guide of all.

His visit to Pompeii was more than a visit, it was pilgrimage. A brief pilgrimage without an official address, and greetings and protocol were reduced to a minimum. In a total of 50 minutes, the Pope had enough time and space for a prayer and a warm embrace from the 10,000 faithful who awaited him.

our correspondent Maurizio Fontana

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St. Peter’s Square

April 25, 2018

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