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Pope Prays at Santa Maria Maggiore - © PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Returning From United Arab Emirates, for 1st Trip of a Pope Ever to Arabian Peninsula, Pope Stops at Santa Maria Maggiore

After His 27th Apostolic Visit Abroad, Francis Prays Before Mary in Marian Basilica

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.


On ZENIT’s Web page:

FEATURE: Pope Francis’ In-Flight Presser: I Found Good Will to Start a Peace Process in Yemen (Zenit Was on the Papal Flight)

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Catholic Sisters, Pioneers of Education in UAE

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ahead of Being on Papal Flight for United Arab Emirates, ZENIT Speaks with Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia Bishop Paul Hinder

INTERVIEW: ‘I Hope Pope Francis Will Call for Full Freedom for Everyone in Every Muslim-Majority Country’  

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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