Rome, Italy, Aug 5, 2019 / 09:09 am
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."