Pope Francis has added the feast day of Our Lady of Loreto to the Roman Calendar, to be celebrated as an optional memorial on December 10th.

Yesterday, the Holy Year of the Lauretan Jubilee was solemnly proclaimed during Mass at the Basilica of the Holy House in the Italian city of Loreto as beginning on December 10th.

To coincide with the jubilee year, Pope Francis has added the feast day of Our Lady of Loreto to the Roman Calendar, to be celebrated as an optional memorial also on December 10th. The Vatican also released the readings and prayers for the feast day, with the reading for the Liturgy of the Hours coming from Pope Saint John Paul II.

“This celebration will help all people, especially families, youth and religious to imitate the virtues of that perfect disciple of the Gospel, the Virgin Mother, who, in conceiving the Head of the Church also accepted us as her own.”

The Basilica of the Holy House enshrines what is traditionally believed to be the house that the Virgin Mary grew up and lived in during the Childhood of Christ. Venerated by generations of pilgrims with visitors such as Galileo, Mozart, Descartes, Cervantes, Saint Therese of Lisieux and honored by many Popes, the decree says the Holy House:

“Recalls the mystery of the Incarnation, leading all those who visit it to consider ‘the fullness of time,’ when God sent his Son, born of a woman, as well as to meditate both on the words of the Angel announcing the Good News and on the words of the Virgin in response to the divine call.”

John Paul II called the Holy House of Loreto “the house of all God’s adopted children.” When Pope Francis visited the Holy House earlier this year in late March, he called Loreto “a privileged place where young people can come in search of their vocation.”

“It is necessary to rediscover the plan drawn by God for the family, to reaffirm its greatness and irreplaceability in the service of life and society. The Holy House of Mary is the ‘home of the family.’ On the delicate situation of today’s world, the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman takes on an importance and an essential mission.”

Want to learn more about the Holy House of Loreto and see pictures of where Jesus and Mary grew up? Click here. You can also read the full decree by Pope Francis here.

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