As he has done on the eve of his previous Apostolic Visits to various countries, Pope Francis went to the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome on Saturday evening around 7:00 p.m. and prayed before the image of “Mary, Salus Popoli Romani.” He remained in prayer for close to 20 minutes and placed on the altar before the icon of Mary a bouquet of flowers that were of the colors of the flags of the three countries he is to visit: Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. He then returned to the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
The Pope left Rome Sunday morning at 9:15 a.m., local time, and arrived in Quito shortly before 3 p.m., local time.
This is the ninth International Pilgrimage of Pope Francis since his election to the See of Peter on March 13, 2013.
Pope Francis is the second Pontiff to visit Ecuador. Pope Francis arrives in Quito exactly 30 years and 6 months after the visit of Pope John Paul II. That visit took place from January 30 – February 2, 1985, the 25th Apostolic Pilgrimage of St. John Paul II.
The Pope returns to Rome on July 13.