Surrounded by young people, Pope Francis turned to the Virgin Mary, begging for an end to the war in Ukraine.
Pope Francis concluded the month of May, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, by praying the Rosary for the special intention of peace in Ukraine. Without leaving his wheelchair, the 85-year-old pontiff suffering from a knee injury, went to the foot of the statue of Mary Queen of Peace in the Roman Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, where he met with families from countries at war.
The Bishop of Rome was in a wheelchair for this outing outside the Vatican, his first official outing in Rome since receiving injections to relieve the pain in his knee in early May. In recent weeks, the pope has been seen mostly seated during audiences and the Masses he has presided over.
During the Holy Rosary, shared by a video link with Marian shrines in countries affected by conflict – Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria – the successor of Peter asked Our Lady “that the war that has been raging in various parts of the world for decades and that has now also invaded the European continent may soon cease.”
The Pope was surrounded by young people, Ukrainian families from Rome, Vatican gendarmes, Swiss guards, and military chaplains. About 900 people attended the event, according to the Holy See.
At the end of the celebration, the pontiff paused before the icon of the Virgin, Salus Populi Romani, before which he traditionally comes to pray before and after his trips. He also greeted the faithful present, including disabled people to whom he extended his hand, provoking delighted smiles from wheelchair to wheelchair.