Pope Francis thanks Our Lady for protection on Marseille visit
By Devin Watkins
After the papal plane touched down at Rome's Fiumicino Airport, Pope Francis took the long way across the Eternal City to make a stop at the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
According to the Holy See Press Office, the Pope paused for a moment in prayer at the feet of the ancient icon of Maria Salus Populi Romani.
He thanked the Blessed Virgin Mary for her maternal protection during his Apostolic Journey to Marseille, before returning to the Vatican by car.
Migration in the spotlight
The Pope spent the last two days in the southern French city of Marseille to take part in the final session of the Mediterranean Meetings.
Much of his visit highlighted the issue of migration and the need to treat everyone with dignity, even those who are on the move.
Speaking at the Mediterranean Meetings on Saturday morning, Pope Francis said the sea known to the ancient Romans as mare nostrum, or "our sea", enjoys the vocation to be a place of encounter on the basis of our shared humanity.
"Amidst today’s sea of conflicts," he said, "we are here to enhance the contribution of the Mediterranean, so that it can return to being a laboratory of peace."