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Monday, June 14, 2010

Loreto

Leaving Rome for two days, we have extended our pilgrimage to Loreto.


After a 5 hour train ride we reached Loreto at around 2 p.m. and climbed the hill with Mass kit and luggage, all this with the temperature at 35 degrees centigrade and dressed in our “Orkney weather proof” woollen habits.


Quite an exhausting climb overall in order to reach this “city on the top of a hill”.


The square in front of the Basilica of Loreto that holds the flying Holy House of Loreto, transported by angels first from Nazareth to Croatia and then to the top of the hill of Loreto.

The holy House of Loreto is encased in a beautifully carved marble structure that acts as a sort of giant reliquary for the Holy House.

The interior of the Holy House of Loreto. The stones on the walls are smooth from the touch of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims over the centuries. The darkness of the chapel and the prohibition of flash photography make it hard to get a clear picture.

In this picture it can be seen that the Holy House has remained standing for centuries without any foundations. The dimensions of the Holy House correspond exactly to that of the foundations of the House that remain in Nazareth.

In the evening there is a candlelit procession for the sick around the square with the statue of Our Lady of Loreto borne in procession. The procession may have lacked the numbers of the processions in Lourdes and Fatima, but certainly not the enthusiasm and devotion.

The next morning we were woken up around 5 a.m. to the sound of the Litany of the Saints over blaring loud speakers and the enthusiastic singing of 40,000 marching pilgrims! They had walked all night from Macerata to Loreto ,a distance of around 30 miles. The Macerata – Loreto pilgrimage is an annual event that takes place every year on the 2nd Sunday of June and attracts a crowd of 40,000 to 60,000 pilgrims.

The square in front of the basilica and the basilica itself were packed with pilgrims for the next 2 hours.

It is quite fitting that Our Lady of the flying House of Loreto is the patron of aviators. Here She is borne on the shoulders of pilots with great solemnity through the streets of Loreto at the end of the procession.

Father Anthony said Mass in the chapel of the Sacred Heart which is right next to the Holy House.

We were privileged to join the long list of pilgrims and saints (including St. Alphonsus, St. Clement and St. John Neuman) who carved these deep ridges in the marble floor around the holy house with their knees.

- A pilgrim

3 comments:

whitepostahoy said...

Another great set of photos and information. Many thanks.

Coffee Catholic said...

I've never heard of this! A flying house that is holy?

Why is the house holy and why did it fly?

Wow.

Anonymous said...

Bravi,
please come more often to Italy.
Furthremore I just wanted to state that I hope you will obtain what you need from Rome.

Gianni (from Torino, Piemonte.... the home of great modern Saints)

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