Pope adds feast of Our Lady of Loreto to Roman Calendar

5 November 2019
Pope Francis prays at the Holy House of Loreto during his pilgrimage on 25 March 2019. Image: Vatican Media/Vatican News.

 

Pope Francis decrees that the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto shall be observed as an optional memorial on December 10, coinciding with the start of the Holy Year of the Lauretan Jubilee.

The Solemn Proclamation of the Lauretan Jubilee “Maria Regina et Janua Coeli” took place during Mass at the Basilica of the Holy House on Friday, in the Italian city of Loreto.

Msgr. Krzysztof Nykiel, Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, celebrated the Mass at 10am.

Afterwards, a decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments was proclaimed which inscribed the celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto into the General Roman Calendar.

The decree notes that the Shrine of the Holy House of Loreto, venerated by generations of pilgrims and honoured by numerous Popes, “recalls the mystery of the Incarnation, leading all those who visit it to consider ‘the fullness of time,’ when God sent his Son, born of a woman, as well as to meditate both on the words of the Angel announcing the Good News and on the words of the Virgin in response to the divine call.”

The Congregation has also published the liturgical texts for the memorial.

For a century, pilots and travellers have prayed to the Virgin Mary to keep them safe while in the air. Marking this milestone anniversary of the declaration of Our Lady of Loreto as the patron saint of aviation and aviators, Pope Francis earlier this year conceded a Lauretan Jubilee for all air travellers, and for pilgrims who come to the Shrine of the Holy House.

Speaking to Vatican News, Archbishop Fabio Dal Cin, the papal delegate to the shrine, said it was a “great opportunity to strengthen the bonds of devotion to the Mother of Heaven.” The Archbishop added that, “it’s good news because it’s not just about members of the Air Force but about all air travellers.”

Delving back into history, the Papal Delegate noted that, “The veterans of the First World War asked the Pope at the time to obtain special protection from Mary. The first planes, at the time, were called ‘flying churches…”

“Entrusting to Our Lady of Loreto all those who boarded an aircraft was, therefore, completely natural,” he said.

“We are called to fly high,” the Archbishop underlined, “we are called to holiness, to the fullness of life and happiness that is the holiness offered by the Lord.”

The Shrine is honoured by Christians as the house in Nazareth in which the Holy Family lived, and which was transported to Loreto, Italy in December 1294.

Following the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Monsignor Krzysztof Nykiel, Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the Feast of All Saints, the Lauretan Jubilee will begin on the 8th December 2019, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, with the opening of the Holy Door by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The year will close on the 10th December 2020.

In addition to the Jubilee, Pope Francis has decreed “that the optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto should be inscribed in the Roman Calendar on 10 December, the day on which the feast falls in Loreto, and celebrated every year.”

According to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, “This celebration will help all people, especially families, youth and religious to imitate the virtues of that perfect disciple of the Gospel, the Virgin Mother, who, in conceiving the Head of the Church also accepted us as her own.”

Read the decree below:

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Prot. N. 404/19

DECREE

on the celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto
to be inscribed in the General Roman Calendar

Since the Middle Ages veneration for the Holy House of Loreto has been the origin of that particular shrine which still today is visited by many faithful pilgrims in order to nourish their faith in the Word of God made flesh for us.

This shrine recalls the mystery of the Incarnation, leading all those who visit it to consider “the fullness of time”, when God sent his Son, born of a woman, as well as to meditate both on the words of the Angel announcing the Good News and on the words of the Virgin in response to the divine call.  Overshadowed by the Spirit, the humble handmaid of the Lord so became the dwelling-place of divinity, the purist image of the holy Church.

Closely bound to the Apostolic See this shrine, praised by Popes and known throughout the world, has, over the years and no less than Nazareth in the Holy Land, been able to illustrate powerfully the evangelical virtues of the Holy Family.

In the Holy House, before the image of the Mother of the Redeemer and of the Church, Saints and Blesseds have responded to their vocation, the sick have invoked consolation in suffering, the people of God have begun to praise and plead with Mary using the Litany of Loreto, which is known throughout the world. In a particular way all those who travel via aircraft have found in her their heavenly patron.

In light of this, Pope Francis has decreed, by his own authority, that the optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto should be inscribed in the Roman Calendar on 10 December, the day on which the feast falls in Loreto, and celebrated every year.  This celebration will help all people, especially families, youth and religious to imitate the virtues of that perfect disciple of the Gospel, the Virgin Mother, who, in conceiving the Head of the Church also accepted us as her own.

Therefore the new memorial must appear in all Calendars and Liturgical Books for the celebration of Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours; the relative texts are attached to this decree and their translations, approved by the Episcopal Conferences, will be published after confirmation by this Dicastery.

Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

From the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 7 October 2019, the memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary.

Robert Cardinal Sarah
Prefect

          + Arthur Roche
Archbishop Secretary

Sources:

Vatican News – Pope adds feast of Our Lady of Loreto to Roman Calendar

Vatican News – Lauretan Jubilee: A call to holiness

 

With thanks to Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.

 

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