Rome, Italy, Aug 5, 2019 / 09:09 am America/Denver (CNA).
White rose petals fell from the ceiling of St. Mary Major Basilica Monday, as Romans celebrated the anniversary of a 4th century Marian miracle.
The miracle, which inspired the construction of the papal Marian basilica, involved a miraculous snowfall in Rome on Aug. 5 in the year 358.
According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to both a nobleman named John and to Pope Liberius (352-366) in a dream foretelling the August snow and asking for a church to be built in her honor on the site of the snowfall. The church was rebuilt by Pope Sixtus III (432-440), after the Council of Ephesus in 431 declared Mary to be the Mother of God.
Cardinal Stanislsw Rylko, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, celebrated the Mass to mark the 1,661th anniversary of this “miracle of the snow.”
“On the occasion of this great feast of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, Jesus Christ also addresses us, each one of us, this phrase: 'Here is your Mother'. This invitation suggests having confidence in her, without fear, and listening to her, to let yourself be guided by her,” Rylko said in his homily Aug. 5.