• In 590, Pope St. Gregory the Great, while carrying the image of the Protectress of the Roman People (Salus Populi Romani) after a procession pleading for the salvation of the city, spotted an angel in the sky who was sheathing the punishment sword. Soon after, the plague ceased.
Today, the original icon remains in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Pope Francis usually begins and ends his pilgrimages by visiting this Basilica.
Pope John Paul II gave the youth the replica of the icon for it to be carried around the world together with the WYD Cross. With this gesture, he passed on his legacy: the motto "Totus Tuus", which is passed on to younger generations with the help of Our Lady "of the World Youth Day".
In 1987, the second World Youth Day (and the first one outside of Italy) was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and for the first time the WYD Cross traveled outside Europe, beginning its pilgrimage around the world.
In Rome, on Palm Sunday (April 9, 2017), Pope Francis gave both symbols to Panamanian youth beginning the pilgrimage of the Cross and Icon through the dioceses of Panama The symbols will later visit other countries in the Americas.