One of Pope Francis' first acts as pope this morning was to visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, where he greeted and blessed the unborn child of a woman who is five months pregnant.
It was no secret. Like one who has no cares that everyone knows what he intended to do, at 8:24pm last night in his first public appearance he stated: “Tomorrow I am going to pray to the Virgin, for the safekeeping of all of Rome.” Then at 8:05 this morning, leaving the Vatican for the first time as pontiff, the newly elected Pope took one of the Gendarmerie's simple service cars to the papal basilica of St. Mary Major, the oldest and largest church dedicated to the Virgin in Rome. It is also one of the four largest in Rome and claims the King of Spain as its proto-canon. The new pontiff of the Catholic Church chose to enter through one of the basilica's side doors.
Upon entering the basilica the Pope headed toward the venerated icon of Our Lady “Salus Populi Romani" (Protectress of the Roman People) accompanied by, among others, Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the basilica and Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general of the Diocese of Rome.
The Holy Father, after leaving the Virgin a bouquet of flowers on the altar, prayed silently for about 10 minutes before the main altar that is directly above the crypt containing relics of the crib or manger of the Nativity of Jesus.
Mother Mary, the blessing of an unborn child (just 5 months old), the relics of the manger of the baby Jesus. The Madonna, the child.
We have a new Pope who has said "abortion is never a solution", and we have new hope. Easter is coming! The Resurrection of the Church is almost here!
Pray for the Pope! Thank you Benedict for your prayers for the Church! It is like we have two Holy Popes at once. It is too much to hope for or to ask God for. God is merciful!
|The future Pope Francis greeting Pope Benedict|