Ahead of his two-day visit to the French city of Marseille, Pope Francis traveled across Rome on Tuesday morning to pray at the feet of Our Lady.
According to the Holy See Press Office, the Pope paused in silent prayer before the ancient icon of Maria Salus Populi Romani.
He entrusted his upcoming Apostolic Journey to Marseille to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, before returning by car to the Vatican.
The Pope has made it a personal tradition to visit the Basilica of St. Mary Major both before and after his international visits, as a sign of devotion and trust in Our Lady’s protection.
Overview of Pope’s visit to Marseille
Pope Francis is scheduled to depart for the southern French city on Friday afternoon and return on Saturday.
The 22-23 September visit will see the Pope participate on Friday in a Marian prayer with the diocesan clergy at the Basilica of “Notre Dame de la Garde” and a moment of reflection with religious leaders.
On Saturday, the Holy Father will meet privately with people experiencing economic hardship.
Then, he will take part in the concluding session of the “Mediterranean Meetings”, before meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
The Pope’s final event will be the celebration of Holy Mass at the Vélodrome Stadium on Saturday afternoon, ahead of his departure and return to Rome.