Pope Francis has announced only two trips this first year of his Papacy: World Youth Day in Brazil in July and to the Mediterranean the island of Sardinia, which is part of Italy, to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria (Our Lady of Good Air) to venerate the statue of Our Blessed Mother that has inspired seafarers for centuries.
At first I did not realize the relationship between this city and his homeland of Argentina. But after reading more I now understand why this shrine would have such meaning for him. The Conquistadores who came to South America named the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina after this shrine. Buenos Aires literally means “Good Air”. Apparently they argued over whether to name it the “City of the Most Holy Trinity” or “The City of Our Lady of Bonaria”. The sailors, many of whom were from Sardinia and therefore had a devotion to Our Lady of Bonaria prevailed in the argument. The name was later shortened to simply Buenos Aires.
Of course, since Pope Francis is from Argentina he is quite familiar with history of the shrine so it is no surprise that he wishes to pay a visit as many other Popes have done previously.
The Shrine has been under the auspices of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy (the Mercedians) since its founding in the 14th Century and are active is several areas throughout the world today. Note the comment below for a description of the above photo.