I'm sure he said pray to, as he would pray to any of the Saints, or to the Holy Spirit, as well as directly to God. Nothing unusual about it; the Pope prays to God, and to the woman God chose to be the mother of His Son, every day. I'm sure he'll pray for wisdom and strength, in order to do this enormous job.
<> Did Pope Francis actually say “pray to” or was that just a bad translation?
I don’t know if it was a bad translation or not but I will tell you how the process has been explained to me and makes perfect sense to me.
Mary is a part of the communion of saints, as are all Christians. You can ask your friends to pray for you. When you pray to Mary it is like asking Jesus’ best friend to pray for you and intercede for you. Who could be closer to Jesus than His own mother and who is He most likely to listen to if she asks Him a favor? You get special influence for free when you use Mary as an intermediary.
**But first I want to ask you a favour. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me **
What is wrong with praying to the Lord?