Vatican City, 29 December 2014 (VIS) – Pompeii will be the first port of call on Pope Francis' trip to the Italian region of Campania. On 21 March the Holy Father will begin his pilgrimage to Naples, starting from the statue dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary in Pompeii, according to the prelate archbishop and pontifical delegate of the shrine, Tommaso Caputo, who added that the Pope's visit constitutes an event of extraordinary ecclesial importance.
“The filial and tender Marian devotion that the Pope continues to show is also at the root of the Church of Pompeii's strong commitment towards the humblest and neediest among us”, explained the prelate. “Today, more than ever before, the motivating forces of charity, intimately linked to the needs of justice and respect for the dignity of every person, are strongly felt. Aside from our joy for his visit, we hope that Pope Francis will show us the path to take to be even closer to and more united with our people”.
St. John Paul II also visited Pompeii on 21 October 1979, during his visit to Naples, and he returned there on 7 October 2003 for the conclusion of the Year of the Rosary. Benedict XVI also visited the shrine, again during the month of the Rosary, October 2008.