Benedict XVI goes to Loreto on the 4th of October, the 50th anniversary of the famous
pilgrimage of Pope John XXIII a week before the solemn opening of the Second Vatican
Council. The idea is to recommend to the Mother of God the great prayer intentions
of the Church at this time — in particular the upcoming Year of Faith and the Synod
of Bishops on the New Evangelization.
This is not the first time that Pope
Benedict has gone on pilgrimage to Loreto. He has visited at least seven times as
a Cardinal, and already once before as Pope. To the devotion of the Christian people,
the Holy House of Loreto is the humble home of Mary and the Holy Family, a source
of living memory of the Annunciation and the mystery of the Incarnation. Spiritually
and symbolically it is a very appropriate place to prepare oneself to live out a time
of renewal in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel to the world today.
Second Vatican Council – which was opened and closed on the two Marian feasts of the
Immaculate Conception and the Divine Motherhood – devotes the final chapter of the
great document on the Church, Lumen gentium, to Mary, “a sign of sure hope
and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth.” The Church, the Pilgrim
People of God, is Marian.
Beginning our journey with Pope Benedict, we, like
Blessed John XXIII, humbly strive to relive the mystery and the joy of the Annunciation
and the Incarnation of the Son of God, so that we can live the month of the Synod
and a Year of grace accompanied and encouraged by Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our