Vatican City, 21 March 2015 (VIS) – At 7 a.m. today the Holy Father left the Vatican heliport to visit the shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary in Pompeii and the city of Naples.
The Pope's helicopter landed at the shrine at 8 a.m., where he was received by Archbishop Tommaso Caputo, archbishop of Pompeii and papal delegate for the shrine, and by the mayor of the city. Shortly after he entered the temple, where he was welcomed by the rector and recited a prayer of supplication before the image of the Virgin. “We deliver to you our miseries, the many ways of hatred and blood, the thousand old and new forms of poverty, and above al, our sin. We entrust ourselves to you, Mother of mercy; obtain for us God's forgiveness, and help us to build a world according to your heart”.
Francis gave thanks to the many people who welcomed him. “Thank you, thank you for this warm welcome”, he said. “We have prayed to Our Lady, asking her to bless us all: you, me and all the world. We need Our Lady, because she protects us. And don't forget to pray for me. Now, I invite you to recite all together a Hail Mary to Our Lady, and then I will offer you my blessing”.
The Pope then returned to his helicopter to commence his visit to Naples, starting from the Neapolitan suburb of Scampia where he was received by Cardinal Archbishop of Naples, Crescenzio Sepe.