2012-09-29 Vatican Radio
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 Loretto 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.
The 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 Mother.