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Piazza Esquilino with Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore


Returning From Greece, Pope Stops at Santa Maria Maggiore

After Having Spent Time With and Praying for Refugees, Francis’ 1st Stop Upon Return to Rome Is to Pray Before Mary in Marian Basilica

Moments after landing in Rome’s Ciampino Airport Saturday afternoon, Pope Francis traveled to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to offer thanks for the success of his one-day Apostolic Trip to the Greek Island of Lesbos to meet with refugees.

Before returning to the Vatican, after landing safely at Rome’s Ciampino Airport, the Pope made his usual detour to go to the Marian Basilica, reported Vatican Radio.

The Holy Father always venerates the icon before and after his international apostolic trips.

During his time inside, Francis prayed before the ancient image of Mary, Salus Populi Romani, in silence for several minutes, and left flowers for the Blessed Mother.


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 5 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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