Even before his 37th apostolic visit, Francis has adhered to the tradition of praying for the success of his penance trip to Canada in front of a miraculous image of Salus Populi Romani in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Alone, silent and in a wheelchair, Francis prayed in front of the icon that Friday morning to entrust his impending foreign trip to Our Lady.
On Sunday morning, he will board an ITA plane that will take him and his crew to Edmonton, a ten-hour flight away. The focus of the visit is an effort to support healing and reconciliation between the Church and Native Canadians, who in the past were victims of an assimilation policy adopted by Catholic religious institutions.
As announced by the Holy See’s press office this Friday, the Pope went to Santa Maria Maggiore in the morning to “pray before the icon of the Virgin Salus Populi Romani and hand them over for his upcoming visit to Canada”. He then returned to the Vatican.
Traditions before and after foreign trips
Since the opening of the Holy See in March 2013, before and after his overseas trips, Francis has gathered for a few minutes in prayer in front of the Icon of Mary in the Roman Basilica near Rome’s main train station. Is placed. The Cappella Paolina (also known as the Cappella Borghese).. The miraculous image is traditionally particularly close to the hearts of the Romans, but even more fervent prayers of Pope Francis, who has now visited the icon more than 60 times. likely to be counted.
Normally, the Pope arrives at the Basilica the day before his departure, but in this case he decided to pay his traditional visit to the icon two days before departure. Departure from Fiumicino is scheduled for Sunday at 9 a.m., destination is Edmonton, Canada, where it will arrive on Sunday evening (Italian time). Francis will be in the country until July 30, visiting not only Edmonton but also the cities of Maskawasis, Quebec and Iqaluit.
reconciliation and healing
At the heart of the Apostolic Journey is the “desire to embrace indigenous peoples”, as Francis himself declared in last Sunday’s Angelus: “Unfortunately, in Canada, many Christians, especially members of religious institutions, have lost cultural assimilation. In various ways, the past has caused serious harm to native communities.” Against this background, Francis defined this particular journey as a “pilgrimage of penance” and expressed his hope that it would “join the path already adopted by the Canadian Catholic Church and indigenous to reconciliation and healing.” People ”. A mission for which the Pope in Angelus once again asked the believers to accompany him in prayer and for which he sought the support of Our Lady this Friday.
(Vatican News – CS)
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