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Pope Francis wants to be buried at St. Mary Major



Pope Francis, seated in a wheelchair following knee treatment, prays the rosary as he presides over the Rosary for peace in Ukraine and end to wars worldwide, on May 31, 2022 at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

I.Media - published on 12/13/23

Seven other popes have been buried in St. Mary Major, the last being Clement IX, who reigned from 1667 to 1669.
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“The place is already prepared,” revealed Pope Francis on the subject of his future tomb in St. Mary Major, in an interview with the Mexican reporter Valentina Alazraki, broadcast on the Noticieros Televisa channel on December 12, 2023, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Pontiff, who turns 87 in just a few days, spoke extensively about his bond with the Virgin Mary. And he did not rule out the possibility of relinquishing his papacy if his health deteriorates and makes it necessary to reduce his travel schedule. However, he assures that trips to Belgium, Argentina, and Polynesia are planned for 2024.

While claiming to be feeling better, Pope Francis acknowledges that 2023 has been a difficult year for him and asks Catholics to pray for his health.

“Old age doesn’t come on its own,” he insists, “you can’t make it up.” But the Pontiff stresses the need to “know how to accept the gifts of old age.”

Basilica of Saint Mary Major

Confessing his desire to “simplify” the liturgy of papal funerals, the Pontiff said that he wishes to be buried in Santa Maria Maggiore, a papal basilica located in the center of Rome.

“The place is already prepared,” he assures us, explaining that he made this promise to the Virgin Mary, with whom he has “a very deep bond.”

This revelation sheds new light on the 115 visits he has made to the basilica during his pontificate to venerate the icon of the Salus Populi Romani, especially before and after each trip. His last visit was on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, when he placed a golden rose before the icon.


Pope Francis will thus depart from the contemporary tradition of burying pontiffs near the first pope, in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. However seven other popes have been buried in St. Mary Major, the last being Clement IX, who reigned from 1667 to 1669.

Pope Francis
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