Pope Francis prays at St. Mary Major ahead of Portugal journey

And entrusts his visit and World Youth Day participants to the Blessed Virgin Mary

© Vatican Media
© Vatican Media

On Monday afternoon of 31 July, Pope Francis went to the Roman Basilica of Saint Mary Major to pray before the icon of Mary, Salus Populi Romani, ahead of his Apostolic Journey to Portugal. He entrusted his journey and the thousands of young people he will meet in the coming days to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The papal journey from 2-6 August begins on Wednesday when the Pope departs for Lisbon, which is hosting World Youth Day. It will mark the fourth time Pope Francis presides at the global celebration, following the World Youth Days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2013), Krakow, Poland (2016), and Panama City, Panama (2019).

The Pope is also scheduled to visit the Marian pilgrimage Shrine of Fatima on Saturday.

The 38th World Youth Day was originally scheduled to take place in the Portuguese capital in 2022, but was postponed due to the health emergency caused by the Covid pandemic.

The motto chosen by Pope Francis for this World Youth Day is  “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39).