VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II confirmed that he plans to visit the Marian shrine of Loreto on Sept. 5 for the closing of the national pilgrimage of Italian Catholic Action.
The Pope made the announcement in a message to the participants in the recent congress of the diocesan presidencies of Catholic Action, held in Rome.
His message was read last Friday in St. Peter’s Basilica during the solemn prayer vigil with which the congress participants, from all over Italy, prepared for May 1, feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
The vigil was in “preparation for the great pilgrimage to Loreto next September 5, in which with the help of the Lord I have the intention of participating,” John Paul II said in the message.
He added: “For you and with you I pray also to Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla, who in a few days will be the first canonized saint of ICA [Italian Catholic Action], and to the Venerable Albert Marvelli,” whom, “God willing, I will have the joy of beatifying at the end of our pilgrimage to Loreto.”
Gianna Beretta Molla, who will be canonized May 16, was a doctor, wife and mother, and belonged to Catholic Action. In her fourth pregnancy, she accepted the risk of death from cancer rather than abort the baby girl she was expecting. She died in 1962 at age 39.
“I expect you in Loreto,” John Paul II concluded in his message. “I am sure that there will be many of you, what is more, spiritually, you will all be there.”
During a private audience in March granted to Paola Bignardi, president of Italian Catholic Action, the Pope expressed his desire to travel to the Shrine of Loreto on Sept. 5 to beatify Albert Marvelli, an Italian engineer and politician, who died in 1946 at age 28.
Marvelli was formed by the Salesians and Catholic Action. A man of profound spirituality, he carried out works of assistance to the poor during World War II.
Committed to the reconstruction of postwar Italy, he was a member of the Executive of the Christian Democratic Party. He died after being hit by a truck.
Up to 200,000 people are expected to attend the Pope’s Mass in Loreto.