EWTN Catholic Q&A
funeral mass prayer
Question from Mary on 04-12-2005:

Hello: During the Funeral mass, after Communion, this prayer was recited by Card. Ratzinger during the final commendation and farewell. I found the exact wording here in the transcript, found on the EWTN site dedicated to the funeral mass:

...'The Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles and savior of the people of Rome, intercede to God for us so that the face of his blessed Son may be shown to our Pope and comfort the Church with the light of the resurrection.'

I don't understand why Mary is referred to as 'savior of Rome'. Isn't Jesus the only one who should be called savior? Is there something here that I'm missing? Thanks and God Bless Mary

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 04-12-2005:

This refers to a particular historical event. Suffering from plague, the people of Rome under the headship of Pope Gregory the Great (590-604), began prayer to Our Lady to rescue them. While carrying an image of her in procession, as the Pope crossed the Tiber near Hadrian's Mausoleum (now called Castel Sant' Angelo), choirs of angels were heard singing the Regina Caeli (the Marian Hymn of Easter Season). Then, the Pope had a vision of St. Michael sheathing his sword, and the plague was over. Ever since, that image, now found in the Pauline Chapel of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, was entitled in gratitude "Salus Populi Romano" - Savior of the People of Rome. Savior does not mean savior from sin, in this case, but from temporal trials. It is probably more properly translated in this case as "Health of the Roman people," since that is what she restored to them.