Thursday, August 27, 2015

Our Lady of Loreto

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Loreto. The title Our Lady of Loreto refers to the Holy House of Loreto, the house in which Mary was born, and where the Annunciation occurred, and to an ancient statue of Our Lady which is found there.

Tradition says that a band of angels scooped up the little house from the Holy Land, and transported it first to Tersato, Dalmatia in 1291, Reananti in 1294, and finally to Loreto, Italy where it has been for centuries. It was this flight that led to her patronage of people involved in aviation, and the long life of the house that has led to the patronage of builders, construction workers, etc. It is the first shrine of international renown dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and has been known as a Marian center for centuries. Popes have always held the Shrine of Loreto in special esteem, and it is under their direct authority and protection.

The main bell of Loreto -- almost two meters in diameter and weighing more than 7,000 kilograms -- invites people to one of the most famous basilicas in Europe. This basilica is unlike any other: it is the first international shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary, where, according to tradition, one finds her original house, after it was miraculously transferred to Italy from the Holy Land.The shrine of Loreto can be found in the Italian province of Ancona, in the Marche. The beginning of the construction of the shrine -- built in the late Gothic style -- dates back to the 15th century, though it was not completed until the end of the 16th century. The city of Loreto, which currently has 11,000 inhabitants, was built around the basilica.Yet the shrine's history began back in the 13th century -- on December 10th, 1294, to be exact. On that day, according to a longstanding tradition, the house of Mary of Nazareth was flown by angels to its current location. Recent research, however, indicates that the house was brought by boat by the Angelis family in order to protect this priceless relic from Saracen raids after the defeat of the Crusades.The impressive Loreto basilica was constructed around Mary's house. Placed on the altar of the Blessed Mother's home is a small statue of Our Lady of Loreto. Commissioned by Pope Pius XI, the wooden statue was sculpted out of Lebanon cedar from the Vatican Gardens and is cloaked in a golden mantle. It was crowned in the Vatican in 1922 and then solemnly placed in Loreto.Until the end of the 16th century, pilgrims making their way to the Holy House of Loreto used to sing Marian litanies, which are called "The Litanies of Loreto". The shrine soon became one of the most important pilgrimage sites for believers from around the world, as well as for many saints and popes. Pope John Paul II visited several times during his pontificate, including unforgettable encounters with young people in 1995 and 2004.In September of 2007, Pope Benedict XVI came to the basilica on the occasion of the Agora gathering of Italian youth. During his visit, he explained that the house originally had but three walls, not four; thus it is a house open to everyone. In fact, upon entering the basilica, one is struck by its openness to all people and the feeling of being at home. The crosses that are found depicted on the stones of the Holy House are the same type of crosses that were used in Nazareth in the second century.The story of the Holy House that was moved by angles has become a familiar hallmark for aviators, who see the Virgin of Loreto as a worthy protector. And the prayer to Our Lady of Loreto, who was, as a matter of fact, proclaimed the Universal Patroness of Aviators, highlights Mary's profound maternal nature:Prayer:"Our Lady of Loreto, Our Glorious Mother, we confidently turn to you; receive our humble prayer. Humanity is troubled by great evils, which it wishes to overcome on its own, and is in need of peace, justice, truth and love, yet thinks it can find these divine realities away from your Son.O Mother! You, who carried the Divine Savoir in your immaculate womb and lived with Him in the Holy House that we venerate on the Loreto Hill, grant us the grace to seek Him and imitate His example, He who leads us to salvation."

Learn more about this feast day.

Recite the Litany of Loreto.

Act of Consecration to Our Lady of Loreto

O Immaculate Virgin Mary, we come to you with confidence: welcome this day our humble prayer and our act of consecration.

O Mother, you did carry the Divine Saviour in your most pure womb: receive our homage of faith and filial love as we come in spirit into your Holy House. It is also, by the presence of the Holy Family, the holy home par excellence. And it is our wish that every Christian family be inspired by it.

From Jesus, all children learn to obey and to work. From you, O Mary, all women learn humility and the spirit of sacrifice. From Joseph, who did live for Jesus and for you, all men learn to believe in God, to live in and for you, all men learn to believe in God, to live in the family and in society with fidelity and honesty.

O Mary, we pray for our Pope and for the Universal Church, for our country and for all the nations of the world, for the suffering souls for all sinners. And we all wish to consecrate ourselves to you.

Spiritually present in the Holy House, where you did conceive by the Holy Spirit, we want to repeat with lively faith the words of the Archangel Gabriel: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!” We want to invoke you still, saying: “Hail Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church!”

We turn to you, Mary. Receive our consecration to your Immaculate heart. Totally yours, we wish to confirm by this act of love our unlimited love for Jesus, your Son, and our hope in you, our Mother. And you, O Queen and Mother of Mercy, grant to your children an abundance of heavenly blessings. Amen.

via catholic fire
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