On the occasion of the centenary of the proclamation of Our Lady of Loreto as Patroness of Aeronautics, the Loreto Jubilee Year will open on December 8, 2019, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and will be celebrated until December 10, 2020 with the motto “Loreto Jubilee: Called to Fly High.”
Monsignor Fabio Dal Cin, Archbishop Delegate of Loreto, announced last June 25 the convocation of the Jubilee Year, which the Holy Father has granted “for all air, military and civil travellers and for all those that will arrive as pilgrims, from all over the world, to the Shrine of the Holy House.
The Jubilee is being held to commemorate Benedict XV proclamation, on March 24, 1920, declaring the Most Holy Virgin Mary of Loreto “Principal Patroness of All Airmen.”
The Holy House that, according to an ancient tradition, was transported in flight by Angels, inspired aviators of World War I to trust in the Blessed Virgin of Loreto. In fact, at that time planes were called popularly “flying houses.”
Feast of the Virgin of Loreto
Moreover, the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto will be celebrated for the first time on December 10, after the Pontiff inscribed it in the Roman Calendar on October 31, 2019, through a decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship.
This morning, December 3, 2019, the presentation of the Loreto Jubilee Year took place in the Holy See Press Office. Intervening at the presentation were Monsignor Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization; Monsignor Fabio Dal Cin, Prelate and Pontifical Delegate for the Holy House of Loreto Shrine, and Monsignor Antonio Coppola, Episcopal Vicar of Italian Military Aeronautics.
The Pontifical Delegate for the Shrine said that the Loreto Jubilee “is a gift for which we must first of all thank Pope Francis, who has granted it with benevolence, as one more occasion of grace after his visit to Loreto last March 25,” where he signed the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit on young people.
The Holy Father gave it to the Loreto Shrine “so that it would keep its memory alive, promoting a vocational spirituality for Italy and at the international level, in continuity with the indications that emerged from the Synod on Young People,” added Monsignor Dal Cin.
Opening of the Holy Door
The Loreto Jubilee will begin on Sunday, December 8, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, with the rite of Opening of the Holy Door of the Basilica of the Holy House, presided over by the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin; the Jubilee will end on December 10, 2020.
The Jubilee event does not only concern the world of aviation (workers and passengers) but is “directed to all the devotees of Our lady of Loreto, and all those of the whole world that will come to the Holy House, to receive the gift of a Plenary Indulgence,” explained Monsignor Dal Cin.
In the prayer composed for the Jubilee, the Holy Father invites us to pray as follows: “When we are elevated in flight, our spirit is also elevated.” The flight of planes thus becomes a metaphor of our existence. We are all called to fly high, because God offers all the possibility of a good life, namely, a holy life.
The Jubilee becomes a good occasion to re-discover the call to holiness in the contemporary world, exactly as Pope Francis presents it to us in the Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate.
To Receive a Plenary Indulgence
During the Holy Loreto Year, the only Jubilee church in the world will be the Shrine of the Holy House of Loreto, they specified in the presentation. However, to value pastorally the places of worship in civil and military aviation, the possibility of receiving the gift of the Plenary Indulgence “is extended also to the civil and military airport chapels, by previous request sent to the Pontifical Delegation by the local Military Bishop.” In this connection, requests have already arrived from several countries (Brazil, Spain, Poland, France, Italy, the United States, etc.).
The Jubilee’s connotation “is obviously Marian,” pointed out the Shrine’s Delegate. The logo expresses the Jubilee’s meaning: the Holy House upheld by Angels, the crown that symbolizes the Virgin’s royalty and a plane flying high, representing humanity that is on the way toward that desire of plenitude of life present in each person’s heart.
Two Solidary Initiatives
“The joy of the Jubilee cannot be other than shared joy, which is translated into concrete solidarity, especially with the neediest,” said Monsignor Dal Cin. Therefore, the Shrine proposes two charity initiatives: one, so to speak, “at home” and the other in the Holy Land.
The local one refers to the hospitality of the young people that will come to Loreto, lodging in the Youth Center that, according to Pope Francis’ indications, will promote educational projects inspired in Christus Vivit.
The second initiative is destined to Nazareth, where the other half of Mary’s House is found. It’s about providing new specialized teams for the new neonatology of the Holy Family Hospital and aid to the local Miriam Association in the fight against cancer.
This Jubilee will also be an “Itinerant Jubilee.” The Pontifical Delegation has organized the trip of three statues of Our Lady of Loreto, which will leave on December 9 from the Falconara Ancona airport.
An image of the Virgin will touch the airports of Italy’s regions (from Turin to Bari, from Venice to Palermo for a total of 21 flights); another will visit the Military Departments and yet another will travel to the main airport of five Continents (from Buenos Aires to New York, from Toronto to the main European capitals, from Beirut to Manila and the Fiji Islands). “This pilgrimage will represent the Mother’s embrace of the whole world,” explained the Shrine’s Pontifical Delegate.
Events of the Jubilee Year
– On Fridays of the Jubilee Year there will be in Loreto moments of reflection by Monsignor Marco Frisina.
– On March 24, the centenary will be celebrated in Loreto of the proclamation of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto, Patroness of air travellers.
– On March 25, the Jubilee of students will be held to commemorate Pope Francis’ visit.
– From May 3-10 the Agora of the Family will take place.
– From September 5-6, the Air Show will be held of the Three-Coloured Arrows
– On September 26 the Lectio Magistralis will take place of H.E. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, on the topic ”The House, Area for Relations and Revelations.”
Military Aeronautics and the Virgin of Loreto
Monsignor Antonio Coppola, Episcopal Vicar of Italian Military Aeronautics, showed the link that exists between Italian Military Aeronautics and Our Lady of Loreto. He explained that the “relationship between the military world and the spiritual sphere is very close and honoured, almost always with solemn celebrations.”
The link between Italian Military Aeronautics and Our Lady of Loreto “sinks its roots in the beginning of the 20th century and reaches its institutional culmination when the Holy Father Benedict XV, echoing the entreaties of aviators worldwide after World War I, proclaimed Our Lady of Loreto, — with a solemn Decree on March 14,1920 –, “Heavenly Patroness of the Airmen,” recalled Monsignor Coppola.
The Italian Military Aeronautics was born as an Armed Force only three years after March 28, 1923, entrusting itself immediately to the protection of the Most Holy Virgin of Loreto.
In light of what has been said, 2020 will be a special year for the <Italian> Military Aeronautics, full of religious, charitable and cultural initiatives; it will be a valuable opportunity for all to reflect and live their activities with passion, attention and professionalism, essential characteristics to guarantee security and serenity to our country.
The Aeronautics’ calendar of activities “is very rich,” said Monsignor Coppola, and he enumerated some: on December 10, 2019, the Military Ordinary of Italy, Monsignor Santo Marciano, will preside over a Solemn Eucharistic Con-celebration in the Pontifical Basilica of Saint Mary Major of Rome, at the end of which, with the act of handing the effigy of Our Lady of Loreto to the Chief of Staff, the Peregrinatio Mariae will begin in all the entities of the Italian Military Aeronautics