Snowfall at the Basilica

Today the Church celebrates the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.

August 5, 2011. ( According to tradition, on the morning of August 5th, back in the year 358, the Esquiline Hill in Rome was completely covered in snow. In an apparition, the Virgin promised pope Liberius that this would happen.

Because of this the Basilica of Santa Maria di Maggiore or St. Mary Major,  was built in that very area. It’s still one of the most important churches of the Eternal City.

 It’s not only a historic basilica. It also has a special relationship with Rome. Inside the Church stands the icon of the Madonna Salus Populi Romani, which translates to “The Protectress of Rome.”

 Ever since the year 358, every August 5th  is celebrated with a Mass and the traditional
“snowfall” of white petals. It’s a way to commemorate that one white morning and also a way to enjoy this architectural masterpiece.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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1 Response to Snowfall at the Basilica

  1. Susan Baker Swehla says:

    Thank you for posting this. I had never heard of this before. My husband Mark and I had the privilege to have our marriage blessed there when we visited Rome for our 25th wedding anniversary.


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