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World|life|March 17, 2020 / 03:46 PM
Pope makes mini-pilgrimage outside Vatican to pray for end of pandemic

AKIPRESS.COM - With Italy on lockdown and Rome streets almost deserted, Pope Francis left the Vatican March 15 in a mini-pilgrimage to an icon and to a crucifix associated with miraculous interventions to save the city and its people.

Shortly after 4 p.m., the Vatican said, Pope Francis was driven, with a small police escort, to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Joined by Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, archpriest of the basilica, he entered the Pauline Chapel where the “Salus Populi Romani” icon looks down from high above the altar.

The pope laid a bouquet of yellow and white flowers on the altar and sat in prayer in front of the chapel’s famous icon of Mary and the child Jesus.

“With his prayer, the Holy Father invoked the end of the pandemic striking Italy and the world, imploring healing for the many people who are sick, remembering the many victims and asking that their family and friends find consolation and comfort,”  said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office.

The pope, he added, also prayed as he did that morning at Mass, for healthcare workers, doctors, nurses and all those who are still working in Italy so that necessary services are guaranteed even amid the lockdown.

As the mass media were not included in the list of permitted activities during the state of emergency in Kyrgyzstan, AKIpress apologizes to its readers for reduced promptness and coverage of news.

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