Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Feast of Our Lady of Loreto

By Jean M. Heimann

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.

Mary's home in Nazareth was viewed as a holy place and the Apostles used the residence as a church.
After the fall of the Latin Church in Jerusalem in 1291, tradition tells us that a band of angels scooped up the little house from the Holy Land, and transported it first to what is now Croatia. They later carried the home to Italy, where it finally landed in Loreto on December 2, 1295. 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 and construction workers.

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, and it is under their direct authority and protection.

Many miracles are associated with Our Lady of Loreto. A well-known one includes Pope Pius IX , who was declared blessed in 2000. He and his mother made an annual pilgrimage to the shrine. When he was a small child, he fell into a stream and became predisposed to: chronic fatigue, fever, and epileptic seizures. His illness became so bad that it caused him to leave the seminary. Pope Pius VII, a close friend, advised him: “Renounce yourself and place yourself in the hands of the Madonna. Call out to her ‘save me!’ The Virgin of Nazareth is your future.”  The next time he journeyed to Loreto he prayed: “Mother, behold your child—–sick, miserable, useless. I am the shame of my family and disgust to myself. I dedicate myself to you—–save me. Immaculata, make me clean!”  He was cured, returned to the seminary, and was ordained. In 1846, the conclave elevated him to the papacy and he selected the name, Pius IX. In 1854, he proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, thus officially opening the Marian Era. As Pope, he journeyed to Loreto seven times.

Many of the saints have visited Loreto. Among the more well-known saints are: Saints Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier, John Berchmans, Stanislaus Kostka, Francis Borgia, Charles Borromeo, Francis of Paula, Francis de Sales, Bernardine of Siena, John of Capistrano, Lawrence of Brindisi, Philip Neri, Camillus de Lellis, Louis Guanella, Robert Bellarmine, Gabriel Possenti, Clement Hofbauer, Brigit of Sweden, Madeleine Sophie Barat, Alphonsus Liguori, Louis de Montfort, Aloysius Gonzaga, John Bosco and Therese of Lisieux.

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.

Watch the video "The Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto in Italy" HERE.

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