Pope to sign letter to young people at popular Marian sanctuary
The place Pope Francis chose to sign his letter to young people is an important and popular sanctuary housing the Holy House of Loreto.
According to tradition, the tiny stone house is considered to be the home where the Mary was born and raised and also the house in which the Holy Family was thought to live when Jesus was a boy. It also is held to be the place where Mary received the angel’s annunciation and conceived the Son of God through the Holy Spirit.
With his visit, the pope will encourage young people and pray that Mary “takes them by the hand and guides them with joy” to their own generous declaration of “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word,” Archbishop Fabio Dal Cin of Loreto told Vatican News.
By signing a document based on a synod’s discussions about young people, faith and vocational discernment, the pope also is making a symbolic gesture, connecting the place venerated to be the home of “a very special family” with all the world’s families and the family of the universal church, the archbishop said in a video interview posted on the sanctuary’s website, www.santuarioloreto.it
The pope will sign the document in the basilica housing the shrine on Monday (25th March), the feast of the Annunciation. The Vatican announced earler this week that the postsynodal apostolic exhortation – titled in Spanish, Vive Cristo, esperanza nuestra, (Christ, Our Hope, Lives) – would not be made public until a later date.
The gesture at the sanctuary, like the document itself, is a renewed call to focus on “accompanying the younger generations,” Archbishop Dal Cin told Vatican News.
This reflects a similar historic visit, he said, when St John XXIII went to the shrine of Loreto in 1962 to entrust to Mary the Second Vatican Council, which began a week later.
In Loreto, St John prayed that Mary, “as ‘Help of Bishops,’ to intercede for me as bishop of Rome and for all the bishops of the world, to obtain for us the grace to enter the council … with one heart, one heartbeat of love for Christ and for souls.”
On the 50th anniversary of St John’s visit to Loreto, Pope Benedict XVI visited the shrine in 2012 to entrust to Mary the Year of Faith, which began a week later, and the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelisation.
Archbishop Dal Cin said Pope Francis entrusting to Mary the letter to young people at the same shrine shows a similar desire that she help the world’s bishops so the document would have a fruitful pastoral outcome.
According to tradition, the Holy House was carried by angels from Nazareth, Israel, to this hillside town the night of December 9th-10th, 1294, after making a three-year stop in Croatia. The shrine’s custodians say the stones were actually removed from the Holy Land and carried by ship by a member of the Angeli family.
The family name is also the Italian word for “angels,” thus being the probable reason for the more popular notion of winged angels flying the house to Italy.Tags: Angeli family, angels, basilica, feast of the Annunciation, Holy Family, Holy House, Jesus, of Loreto, Pope Francis, sanctuary, tradition, young people