Rome, Italy, Mar 15, 2020 / 11:43 am
Pope Francis on Sunday took a brief walking pilgrimage in the city of Rome, and prayed for an end to the coronavirus pandemic during a surprise visit to both the Basilica of St. Mary Major and a cross that traversed Rome during a 16th century plague.
According to the Vatican, the pope went to the basilica to visit the icon of Salus Populi Romani, Mary Protection of the Roman People, to invoke her prayers against the coronavirus pandemic affecting Italy and the world.
A priest of the vicariate of Rome, Fr. Elio Lops, told CNA Pope Francis was accompanied during his visit by the Archpriest of the basilica, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko.
Lops, who was present, said the pope prayed silently before the icon for about 20 minutes and also stopped briefly at the chapel of the crucifix.