Our Lady of Loreto and the Holy House of Loreto – 10 December – Our Lady of Loreto is the Patron of air crews, Air Forces, aircraft pilots, Argentinian Air Force, Arpino, Italy, aviation, aviators, Belgian air crews, builder,• construction workers, flyers, flying, Ghajnsielem Gozo, Italy, Guidonia Montecelio, Italy, Italy, Loreto, Italy, Spanish air crew
Today, December 10, is the feast day of Our Lady of Loreto, a longstanding devotion to Our Blessed Mother. 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. This title further refers to a beautiful and ancient statue of Our Lady which is found there and revered still today. Church holy tradition tells us that the angels scooped up the humble home of Mary from the Holy Land, transporting it three times- first to Tersato, Dalmatia in 1291, three years later to Reananti, and finally to Loreto, Italy where it has remained for centuries. The Holy House of Loreto 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, pronounced it’s veracity as the dwelling of the Holy Virgin, and it falls under their direct authority and protection because of the “divine mysteries which took place there.” Today, a Basilica has been built around the tiny house and thousands flock to visit each year.
The history of the translation of the Holy House of Loreto has been investigated and approved by countless popes over the centuries. It begins at the end of the thirteenth century, as the Crusades were coming to an end, the Holy Land having been lost by Christians to the Muslims. When the news reached Rome, it was accompanied by other news—news of great joy: the holy house of Nazareth, where the Blessed Virgin had lived and received the great news from the Angel Gabriel—had miraculously disappeared, leaving only it’s foundation behind. News simultaneously arrived of the house’s miraculous appearance near Tersatz in Dalmatia (Yugoslavia). The small house, containing only three walls (as the fourth had opened into a grotto in it’s original placement), contained within it an altar and an ancient statue of Our Lady.
After three years in Dalmatia, the house disappeared again during the night. Paul Della Selva, a holy hermit of that period and of the region of Ancona, wrote: “During the night of December 10th, a light from heaven became visible to several inhabitants of the shores of the Adriatic Sea and a divine harmony woke them that they might contemplate a marvel exceeding all the forces of nature. They saw and contemplated a house, surrounded by heavenly splendor, transported through the air.”
The house was again set down, this time in a forest not too far away from Dalmatia. Upon discovery, the small Holy House became a pilgrimage site, but after only three years, it moved again, finding it’s final resting place atop a barren hill in Loreto, Italy. Modern day investigators have confirmed that the reddish-black stones of the house are a sort entirely foreign to Italy; the mortar cementing them is again entirely different from the volcanic-ash-based substance used in that country. Local residents constructed a shelter for the building of heavy bricks, attempting to prevent the elements from wearing away their sacred treasure. No sooner had they completed this wall, however, they found that in the night it had been moved away from the house, as if to say that this treasure, miraculously transported, would also be protected by the Lord.
Over the centuries, many Pontiffs have testified to the authenticity of the Holy House and the miracles that have been attributed to it and have granted numerous indulgences to those who visit it. Pope John XXIII pronounced in 1962: “This is the lesson that comes from Nazareth: holy families, blessed love and homely virtue, blossom from the warmth of ardent hearts that are full of generosity and good will.”The same theme was also taken up by Pope John Paul II when he went on a pilgrimage to Loreto on September 1979. He said at that time: “The House of the Holy Family! It was the first temple, the first church, on which the Mother of God shed her light through her motherhood. She irradiated it with the light which comes from the great mystery of the Incarnation; from the mystery of her Son.”
Today, we call upon Our Blessed Mother, to hear our prayers, fill us with the grace she mediates, and protect us in our times of trouble. Our Lady of Loreto, pray for us!