90th ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROCLAMATION OF OUR LADY OF LORETO AS PATRON OF AIR TRAVELLERS

90th ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROCLAMATION OF OUR LADY OF LORETO AS PATRON OF AIR TRAVELLERS  

The Holy House of Loreto is one of the most visited Marian shrines in Italy. Inside can be found the Holy House of Nazareth, the place where Our Lady received the Annunciation. The structure houses a statue of the Blessed Mother called the Black Madonna of the Lauretan Virgin. The original statue was destroyed in a fire in 1921 and replaced the following year with a copy made by artist Leopoldo Celani who used Lebanese cedar wood taken from the Vatican Gardens. In 1920 Benedict XV proclaimed Our Lady of Loreto “Patron of Air Travellers”, since, according to tradition, the Holy House was transported by Angels from Nazareth to Loreto, a symbol of humanity travelling the world. The image on the aerogramme reproduces the bronze plate attached to the body of aircraft representing precisely the moment of the transfer in flight of the Holy House carried by Angels with Our Lady seated on the rooftop. In a letter sent to Archbishop Tonucci, Prelate of Loreto, for the 90th anniversary of the proclamation, Pope Benedict XVI recalled how Our Lady of Loreto is “patron of all air travellers, regardless of nationality...” and therefore guardian of all those who travel. The Pope also underscored how “aircraft have become a daily and indispensable means of encounter among persons of different cities and nations” and that “dialogue for peace can count on this means of transport to favour a direct encounter among world leaders”