On Monday morning, 4 April, Pope Francis paid a visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, where he prayed before the Marian icon, the Salus Populi Romani, as he does after every Apostolic visit.
Pope Francis’ plane landed at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, 3 April, after taking off from Malta’s international airport at 7:15 p.m.
Before taking off from Malta, in another gesture of devotion to Mary, the Pope caressed an image of Our Lady of Bonaria, which was placed at the front of his seat aboard the Air Malta plane.
Back at the Vatican, the Pope was welcomed by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Dean of the College of Cardinals.
Among Vatican officials who accompanied Pope Francis on his 36th Apostolic trip were Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin; Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Mario Grech, who was born in Qala (an island and region in Gozo), and who was bishop of Gozo from 2005 to 2019; the substitute for the Secretariat of State’s Section for General Affairs, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra; and Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.