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Pope makes another surprise visit to St. Mary Major

Catholic World News - July 22, 2013

Pope Francis made a surprise visit to the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major on July 21 to pray for the Virgin Mary’s assistance during his trip to Brazil for World Youth Day.

On the eve of his first apostolic voyage, the Pope made his second unannounced visit to the Marian basilica. He had shocked Romans on the day after his election as Pontiff by traveling across the city to pray before the beloved image of the Virgin Salus Populi Romani. He prayed silently before the same icon on July 21, placing a bouquet and lighting a candle before he left.

Before leaving the basilica the Pope stopped to speak with some of the faithful there, asking them, too, to pray for the success of his trip.

The basilica remained open to the public during the Pope’s surprise visit on Sunday afternoon. On the occasion of his first visit, despite his requests, officials had closed off public access to the building.

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