Why does Pope Francis want to be buried in St. Mary Major and not in the Vatican?

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The relationship between Pope Francis and the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome is a very special one, to the point that the Argentine Pope wants to be buried there. He said this in an interview with the Spanish language news site N+.

This is due to the great devotion he has to the Salus Populi Romani, known as the “protector of the Roman people,” which dates back to even before he was elected Pope.

As I always promised the Virgin, and the place is already prepared, I want to be buried in St. Mary Major, because it is my great devotion. Before, when I used to come here, I always went there on Sunday mornings. When I was in Rome, I would go there for a while. There is a very strong connection.

Francis' gestures towards this Marian devotion have been significant throughout his pontificate. It is something that can be seen since his first public appearance on the balcony of St. Peter's after the conclave of 2013, when he said he would go the next day to pray to the Virgin to protect the people of Rome.

Since then, Pope Francis has entrusted all of his trips to this devotion. He visits the Basilica of St. Mary Major every time he leaves Rome. On his return from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, he left a ball and a T-shirt on the altar.

A more solemn moment was in 2016 when he went to the Basilica for the opening of the Holy Door for the Jubilee.

Today more than ever, it is most appropriate that we invoke the Virgin Mary, above all, as “Mother of Mercy.” The Holy Door that we have opened is, in fact, a door of Mercy.

Pope Francis' last visit to the Salus Populi Romani was on December 8 on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, when he passed by St. Mary Major to leave a golden rose before the image of the Virgin in honor of the patroness of Rome.


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