By Devin Watkins
Upon his arrival in Rome on Monday, Pope Francis stopped for a moment to express his gratitude to Our Lady for her maternal protection.
On the return car trip to the Vatican at the end of his Apostolic Journey to Iraq, the Pope paused in prayer before the image of Maria Salus Populi Romani.
The ancient Roman icon is housed in the Borghese chapel at the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
Pope Francis brought a bouquet of flowers from Iraq, which he placed on the altar at the foot of Our Lady’s image.
According to the Holy See Press Office, he thanked the Virgin Mary for her protection, which he had asked for before he left for Iraq.
The Pope then returned to his Vatican residence at the Casa Santa Marta for some much-needed rest after his four-day visit to the Middle Eastern nation.