One way we like to record history is to recognize places where historical events or otherwise memorable events happened.
It’s not uncommon to see historical markers on the side of the road when travelling around the highways and roads of the United States.
We mark birthplaces or homesteads that belonged to historical figures, and places where memorable events happened. Even battlegrounds.
This historical marker site lists more than 140,000 of them.
According to the National Register of Historic Places, there are more than 90,000 properties recognized for their significance in American history, architecture, art, archeology, engineering, and culture.
In the Catholic Church we venerate sacred places with churches, cathedrals, basilicas, and shrines. And lots of them!
But this week I want to focus on one particular Catholic Shrine that’s located in Loreto, Italy.
It’s called the Holy House of Loreto and it is encased in a beautiful basilica called The Basilica della Santa Casa. In fact, the town of Loreto built up around the Holy House and the basilica.
What makes this house so holy is that it is believed to be the house where Mary lived … and the house where the Angel Gabriel visited her.
Last year Pope Francis added a feast day to the Universal Church in honor of the Holy House called The Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto … and it’s coming up on December 10th.
This week’s issue of Genuflect looks at this relatively new Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto feast day, including the Pope’s decree, the Jubilee year we’re celebrating, the fascinating story of the house, the Litany of Loreto, and also, what Mary’s life would have been like back in her day and how she met Joseph.
If you’re confused as to why Mary’s home is in Italy and not Nazareth, don’t worry. The answer is below … and it’s quite the story, befitting a historical place where an incredible miracle occurred.
Founding Editor, Genuflect
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On October 7, 2019 Pope Francis officially decreed that December 10th would be added to the Liturgical Calendar of the Catholic Church as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto. Here’s the decree that explains the relevance of this Holy House.
Pope Adds Feast of Our Lady of Loreto to Roman Calendar | Vatican News
Loreto Jubilee Extended
Last year on the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto a Jubilee year was declared to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Loreto as the patroness of pilots and air passengers. But due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis has extended the Jubilee until next December. So you’ve got plenty of time to plan your visit to the Holy House and receive a plenary indulgence.
Pope Francis Extends Loreto Jubilee to 2021 | National Catholic Register
The Story of The House
The Holy House is known as the place where Mary was born and where the Angel Gabriel appeared to her. So how in the world did it end up in Italy? And how do we know it’s actually the house? It’s a fascinating story that you don’t want to miss.
Angels Airlift The House
It’s said that angels airlifted the Holy House from Nazareth to its final resting place in Loreto, Italy. That sounds improbable, but would you believe me if I said there’s evidence that it likely was delivered by angels? Courtney Mares presents a convincing case.
Did Angels Really Carry The Holy House of Mary to Loreto, Italy? | Catholic News Agency
6 Loreto Facts
This is only the second year the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto will be celebrated in the Universal Church. So if you’re still not altogether familiar with it, here are 6 things you need to know.
Holy House Video Tour
Amazing! Tour the miraculous Holy House and its surrounding basilica in Loreto, Italy by way of this video.
Celebrate Our Lady of Loreto
The Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto is coming up on December 10th. What better way to celebrate than to pray this Litany of Loreto.
Celebrate Our Lady of Loreto | University of Notre Dame
Litany Titles Explained
The beautiful Litany of Loreto is filled with various titles for the Blessed Virgin Mary, but some of them are a little obscure. Fortunately, Saint John Henry Newman wrote his meditations on the meanings of the titles. So now you’ll know.
St. John Henry Newman’s Meditations on The Litany of Loreto | The Catholic World Report
How to Memorize the Litany
We’re just getting started with Advent and if you’re still looking for a challenge, Peter Darcy suggests you memorize the Litany of Loreto. Here are his tips for doing just that.
How to Memorize The Litany of Loreto | Catholic Stand
It’s hard for us to imagine what it was like for Mary living in the small Holy House and living in Nazareth 2000+ years ago. What did she look like? What did she eat? What was the village like? Here’s a fascinating look at what her world most likely looked like.
MARY OF NAZARETH, Jesus’ mother. What was her world like? | Women in the Bible
Mary And Joseph
When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and she gave her famous fiat, she was betrothed to Joseph. Here’s the story of how Mary and Joseph met, as passed down through oral history and recorded in an early non-canonical gospel.
Pray The Novena to Our Lady of Loreto
The Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto is coming up on December 10th. It’s not too late to pray The Novena to Our Lady of Loreto, especially if you are looking for a new home. You’ll find the instructions for the Novena to Our Lady of Loreto here.
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