May 27, 2014. Pope Francis made an unannounced visit to the Basilica of St. Mary Major on Tuesday morning to give thanks to Our Lady for the positive outcome of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He deposited a bouquet at the icon of Salus Populi Romani and prayed for several minutes. After, he greeted the worshipers inside the basilica. The Pope had also visited on Friday, before his departure to Jordan.