The dedication of the Basilica ofSt. Mary Major is celebrated each year on August 5. During a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Santos Abril, the roof of the church opens, showering the altar with rose petals to mark the miraculous snowfall that took place over the Esquiline Hill, back in the 4th Century.
"We were hoping to see Pope Francis because he's from our country and we came to celebrate. We didn't know it was such an important feast for Rome and for the Church, and well, the rose petals exceeded all our expectations. We've truly had a beautiful, beautiful day.”
Despite the fiery August heat, many tourists and families went out to celebrate the feast day, which commemorates, the very first Western Basilica to be dedicated to the Mother of God.
"Back home, it's winter, so we're trying to adapt to the weather on our first day. By eight in the morning, when we came to the church, we already felt the heat, so by midday we don't even want to imagine what it'll be like.”
During the homily, Cardinal Santos Abril said that Our Lady, as a Protrectress of the Roman People has attracted the devotion of many Popes. But he specifically mentioned Pope Francis, who since day one, has asked Our Lady to guide him during his pontificate.