Pope thanks Virgin Mary for protection during pilgrimage to Canada
By Devin Watkins
As per tradition, the Pope made a brief stop at the Basilica of St. Mary Major on Saturday morning upon his return to Rome at the end of his Apostolic Journey to Canada.
Pope Francis laid a bouquet of flowers on the altar beneath the ancient Marian icon Salus Populi Romani.
He prayed for a few moments to thank the Blessed Virgin Mary for her protection during his six-day ‘penitential pilgrimage’ to the North American nation, according to the Holy See Press Office.
The Pope then returned to his residence in the Vatican for some much-needed rest.
Sorrow over residential schools
His 24-29 July visit to Canada shone the spotlight on the need for reconciliation and healing for indigenous peoples, especially in the wake of some Catholics’ involvement in the residential school system.
Pope Francis apologized for the “evil committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples.”
The Pope repeatedly expressed his sorrow and wrapped up his visit to Canada expressing the hope that his visit might advance the “search for truth” to help in healing and reconciliation.