The Litany of Loreto

The Litany of Loreto is used to honor Mary, the Mother of God. The Litany recalls Mary’s unique role in our salvation history as the mother of our Savior and invokes various titles for her as a way of honoring her and reminding us of the role she has played. The Litany owes many of its praises to the Greek Akathist Hymn, which was first translated into Latin in Venice around the year 800. The other titles and praises addressed to Mary are found extensively in the writings of the early Church Fathers of the first six centuries. Continue reading

The Holy House of Loreto

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The Holy House of Loreto
Feast of the Translation: December 10

Eighteen miles south of Ancona, and about three miles from the Adriatic coast of Italy, stands the city of Loreto (also spelled Loretto) on the summit of a hill. A vast basilica with a great dome forms the most treasured of all the Pope’s “extraterritorial” Vatican State properties, enshrining, as it does, one of the most sacred and important of all Our Lady’s Shrines — the Home of the Holy Family, “the Holy House of Loreto.” Written at the door of the basilica are these words: “The whole world has no place more sacred… For here was the Word made Flesh, and here was born the Virgin Mother…” On entering the basilica, one finds beneath the central dome, and just behind the high altar, a rectangular edifice of white marble, richly adorned with statues. The white marble, however, forms only a protective crust. The contrast between the exterior richness and the poverty of the interior is startling. Inside are the plain, rough walls of a cottage of great antiquity, thirty feet long by fifteen feet wide and about fifteen feet high. In the center of the House of Our Lady, there is a replica of a wooden statue of the Madonna. The original one, made of cedar of Lebanon, arrived at Loreto together with the house, but has since been destroyed. Continue reading