By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Pope Francis returned to Rome after his two-day Apostolic Journey to Ireland to participate in the IX World Meeting of Families.
He landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport late Sundday evening around 11:00 Rome local time.
On Monday morning, as is his custom, the Pope went to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. There he prayed before the icon of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani, or Help of the Roman People, and left a bouquet of flowers.
Before returning to the Vatican, however, he paid a surprise visit to the Church of St Augustine, located just off of Piazza Navona. In a side chapel located to the left of the main altar, the body of St Monica is buried. Pope Francis paused there for several moments of personal prayer.
Today the Roman Church celebrates the Memorial of St Monica, the mother of St Augustine.