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Rome Reports

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Snow in August: a Roman tradition lives on


Europe is experiencing one of its strongest heat waves in recent history. 

But in Rome, it's snowing. 

White rose petals drop from the ceiling of Saint Mary Major Basilica to commemorate the legend behind this church's founding.

It holds that one summer night in the fourth century, the Virgin Mary appeared to a noble Roman couple in a dream and told them to build a Church in her honor where they found snow the next morning. 

That same night, the pope had the same dream, and all three went to Rome's Esquiline hill, which they found covered in snow despite the August heat. 

It's a story that still brings pilgrims from around the world to that same spot each August 5, the feast of Our Lady of the Snows. 

DUCO AND PATRYCJA
We thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate this feast here and to experience the place where it originates.

We also thought it would be additionally special on our honeymoon.

GERARDO AND MARIA
I think that it helps us grow a bit more in the faith, to believe more in God, in that he can do impossible things, and that's very motivating.

BARTOSZ
Being from Poland, you feel a Church in communion, a Catholic Church, that we are really here united in prayer, even if not everyone understands the language, in that way we are united in Christ.

St. Mary Major was the first Marian church in Rome, built immediately after the council of Ephesus in 431 which proclaimed Mary as Mother of God. 

Over 1,500 years after its construction, it continues to be a powerful statement on Mary's central role in the Church. 

JM