On the first day of the year, "Solemnity of Mary Mother of God" in the Paul VI Calendar,* Pope Francis visited his Basilica of Saint Mary Major for the seventh time in his pontificate. A community of Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate has been attached to the Liberian Basilica for some time, and the Pope also briefly talked to them during this surprise visit.
From Italian news agency AGI:
(Salvatore Izzo) On the occasion of his seventh visit to Saint Mary Major, on Wednesday afternoon, Pope Francis met a group of Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate who serve in the Liberian Basilica, exhorting them to "cooperate [collaborare] with the Commissioner" to whom the leadership of the Institute has been entrusted since last July, AGI has learned. On December 8, when welcoming him at Saint Martha, Francis had wished to personally encourage Capuchin Fidenzio Volpi, secretary of the Italian Conference of Superiors General, to whom the Congregation for Religious gave full powers after having removed the Founder following internal conflicts in the Institute in matters of liturgy (he wished it to be celebrated in Latin), but also for reasons of administration and excessive authoritarianism regarding the religious.
[Tip: Andrés Beltramo on Twitter]
* Traditionally, as it is well-known, the feast of the Circumcision of the Lord or the Octave Day of Christmas (first name dropped in the 1960 calendrical revisions, but with no change of texts) already had deeply Marian tones in honor of the Divine Motherhood, precisely due to the relationship between the Octave Day and the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. But the Feast of the Divine Motherhood itself was only included in the Universal Calendar by Pius XI in 1931, on the celebration of the anniversary of the Council of Ephesus. One of the many ironies of the new calendar is that this Feast as established on its adequate day was so much loved by John XXIII that he chose it as the main date for the Second Vatican Council - it began on this Feast, October 11, 1962. And yet... the Calendar of the New Order, that went so much beyond what most Fathers could have thought they were approving in Sacrosanctum Concilium, included the abolition of the founding day of Vatican II itself (!) and its change to replace the venerable ancient Day, of immemorial origin and texts, with a new name, and new or recast propers and readings.