Tuesday afternoon after having landed in Rome’s Ciampino Airport on Feb. 5, 2019, Pope Francis traveled to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to offer thanks for the success of his two-day Apostolic Visit to the United Arab Emirates, marking the first time a Pope has stepped foot in the Arabian Peninsula, Feb. 3-5, 2019, for the occasion of the International Interfaith Meeting on Human Fraternity. ZENIT’s Senior Vatican correspondent, Deborah Lubov, was on the papal flight, covering the trip.
After the stop, Director ‘ad interim’ of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, on his Twitter, made the following tweet: “On returning from his journey to the United Arab Emirates, Pope Francis went to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major to pray. #HumanFraternity“
It is already a usual detour for the Holy Father to go to the Marian Basilica; he 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.
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