The Lauretan tradition, relating to the transport of the house of Mary, by angels from Nazareth to the ancient Illyria (1291) then from there to the ancient territory of Recanati-Italy (1294), appeared very suggestive for the choice of the Madonna of Loreto as “Patroness” who moves through the air.
The relationship between the “Madonna di Loreto” (Our Lady of Loreto) and the aeronautical world, dates back to March 1920 when she was officially proclaimed “Aeronautarum Patrona” by Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922). Our Lady of Loreto has since been the patroness of Aviators.
The 2020 Jubilee which marks the 100th Anniversary of the papal proclamation, will be honored on the occasion of a Jubilee opened on December 8, 2019, that will continue the celebrations till December 10, 2020.
The Lauretan Jubilee is a great experience of collaboration in synergy with different realities and institutions. The main ones are first of all, represented by the Italian Air Force, with General Alberto Rosso, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Monsignor Antonio Coppola, delegate of the Military Ordinary in Italy. For International Women’s Day (March 8), the shrine will host a special pilgrimage of women pilots, and March 24, the 100th Anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s proclamation, members of the Italian Air Force will gather at the shrine.
Our Lady of Loreto, the Patron Saint of aviators for a Century starts when the veterans of “World War I” prayed the Virgin Mary asking to protect them from new conflicts or when flying. To celebrate the 100th Anniversary, Pope Francis announced a Lauretan Jubilee for all aviators and air travelers. In 2020 three statues depicting Our Lady of Loreto will fly to reach (commercial and military) national and international airports.
Italian Air Force are flying a statue of Our Lady of Loreto to several IAF Bases in Italy, while the Italian airline “Alitalia” are flying a statue to 20 civilian airports throughout the country during the year; the statue will stay in the airport chapels for a two-week period of veneration. Alitalia also has promised to fly another copy of statue internationally, beginning with the pope’s hometown, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. We will physically and spiritually bring the message of peace and brotherhood , shared by the air transport community, by the passengers and by the devotees of Our Lady of Loreto in the travels of the “Pilgrim Virgin” -declared ENAC Chairman Nicola Zaccheo-.
WAP together with the AAA (Veterans of the Air Force Association) are proposing that a statue of Our Lady of Loreto will be flown by IAF and placed in a small votive corner at the Italian MZS Base in Antarctica (WAP ITA-Ø1), following the original proposal launched 17 years ago, to build a small chapel at Mario Zucchelli Station…. the dream is still on!