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Santa Maria Maggiore

Santa Maria Maggiore --Photo ZENIT Cc

Pope Prays at Santa Maria Maggiore Before Departing for Armenia

Francis Travels to Rome’s Marian Basilica to Pray for Mary’s Protection for His 14th Apostolic Visit Abroad

Last evening, Pope Francis traveled to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to pray for the success of his 14th Apostolic Visit abroad to the nation of Armenia. The Holy Father almost always visits Rome’s Marian Basilica to pray for Mary’s protection and intercession before and after his papal trips.

According to Vatican Radio, the Pope prayed before the ancient image of Mary, Salus Populi Romani, and invoked the Virgin Mary’s protection on his travels and upon the people he will visit in Armenia.

According to a press release from Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, Pope Francis left a bouquet of flowers, in the colors of the Armenian flag at the altar after his prayer.

This morning, Pope Francis, his papal entourage, and journalists boarded the Alitalia plane at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport and they arrived in the Armenian capital of Yerevan at about 2:50 local time, 12:50 Rome time.

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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