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Pope entrusts World Youth Day to Mary with special visit to shrine


© Vatican Media

I.Media - published on 07/31/23 - updated on 08/01/23

This is the 109th time Francis has visited this image of Mary since becoming Pope.

Pope Francis went to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major to pray before the icon of the Virgin Salus Populi Romani on July 31, 2023, in order to entrust to her his imminent trip to Lisbon (August 2-6) and the “thousands of young people” he will meet during the World Youth Day, the Vatican press office reported.

The 86-year-old Pontiff is due to take off from Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 7.50 am on August 2 for a three-hour journey to Lisbon, where tens of thousands of young people from all over the world have already gathered. As with every trip since the WYD in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, the Pope made a point of visiting the Roman Basilica to entrust his journey to the Virgin Mary.

This is the Pontiff’s 109th visit to this church, which he is so fond of. He visited it most recently on the morning of June 16, immediately after leaving Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic, where he had been hospitalized for 10 days for abdominal surgery.

During his trip to Portugal – the 42nd apostolic journey since his election – the Pope will deliver eight speeches and two homilies. During the five days in Portugal, he will also make a stopover in Fatima on August 5; he visited this Marian shrine previously in 2017.

More than 700 bishops and 20 cardinals will take part in WYD; some 330,000 young people from over 200 countries have registered. According to local organizers, up to a million young people are expected to attend.

Pope FrancisVirgin Mary
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