Sardinian governor to deliver gift to Buenos Aires police

Replica of Madonna inspires Pope's pilgrimage to Sardinia

Sardinian governor to deliver gift to Buenos Aires police

Cagliari, July 11 - The governor of Sardinia will be in Buenos Aires on Friday to deliver a replica of the Madonna di Bonaria (Madonna of Fair Winds) - Sardinia's patron saint - in view of Pope Francis's September 22 visit to the Sardinian capital Cagliari. The pope is making a pilgrimage to the Nostra Signora di Bonaria (Our Lady of Fair Winds) shrine in the Cagliari basilica. The Madonna di Bonaria gave the pope's hometown - Buenos Aires - its name, the pontiff told Sardinian pilgrims at a general audience in May, when he announced the visit. Sardinian Governor Ugo Cappellacci is taking a copy of the statue to the Argentine capital's municipal police, who also regard the religious figure as their protector. The archbishop of Cagliari, Arrigo Miglio, invited the governor, who is engaged in a series of meetings in Rio de Janeiro and in Buenos Aires, to personally deliver the statue in Friday's ceremony, which will also be attended by the governor of Buenos Aires and the city's new archbishop, Monsignor Mario Aurelio Poli. ''We are nearing the pope's visit to our land, which represents a great message of faith and hope for a people, like ours, who suffers but doesn't give up,'' said Cappellacci. The pope is scheduled to visit Nostra Signora di Bonaria (Our Lady of Fair Winds) basilica in Cagliari on September 22. The shrine has been venerated by mariners for almost 700 years and has housed a religious order since the 1300s. Cagliari was conquered by the Aragonese kings from Spain in 1324 who set up their headquarters on a hill they called Buen Ayre (Bonaria) because it did not get the foul-smelling air from swamps outside the city. During the siege of Cagliari, the Aragonese built a sanctuary to the Virgin Mary on top of the hill. A statue of Mary was later claimed to have been found in the sea after it miraculously helped to calm a storm, saving sailors. Spanish sailors, especially Andalusians, venerated this image and frequently invoked the Fair Winds to aid them in their navigation and prevent shipwrecks. A sanctuary to the Virgin of Buen Ayre was later erected in Seville. The founder of Buenos Aires in South America, Spanish conquistador Pedro de Mendoza, dubbed the city Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires (Holy Mary of the Fair Winds) in 1536.

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