Schedule of Pope’s trip to Marian shrine of Loreto announced

.- The Vatican released the schedule of the Holy father’s pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Loreto this Sunday, September 5. The Pope will leave Castelgandolfo by helicopter and after a one-hour trip will arrive in Montorso, near Loreto, to celebrate Mass and beatify three servants of God, members of Catholic Action.

After the beatification of Catalan priest, Pedro Tarres y Claret, and two young lay Italians, Alberto Marvelli and Pina Suriano, the Pope is scheduled to say a few words before praying the Angelus.

He is scheduled to leave Loreto for Castelgandolfo at 5 p.m. after lunching and resting at the John Paul II Youth Center in Montorso.

This is the Pope’s fiftth trip to the Loreto shrine having previously traveled to Loreto in 1979, 1985, and 1994, 1995, and 1998.

According to Catholic tradition, the Loreto shrine is built around the house in which the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary took place. It is also believed to be the house where the Holy Family lived in Nazareth.

The house was believed to be transported miraculously to Loreto during the night of December 9-10, 1294. However, it is more generally agreed today that it was transported there in pieces by Crusaders on their return from the Holy Land.  Construction of the basilica at the Shrine of Loreto was begun in 1469 and additions made over the centuries.

In a letter written in 1993 the Holy Father expressed his prayer that the Holy House, "which has taken such an active part in the life of Christians during most of the last millennium, may continue to be during the third millennium one of the highest Marian pulpits of Christianity".

Many faithful around the world have a devotion to the Madonna of Loreto, and there are numerous shrines around the world dedicated to this nearly 700 year old devotion.

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