Konkni kutam Rome organized their annual pilgrimage to the Holy Sanctuary of Loreto (Loreto Saibin) on the 28 February, 2010. Loreto Shrine is one of the famous Marian Shrines that has been recognized by the Catholic Church ever since 1294. Being in Lenten season this was an opportunity for the members to make an inward journey visiting the holy sanctuary of Our Lady and praying not only for themselves but also for their dear and near ones.
Eighteen miles south of Ancona, and about three miles from the Adriatic coast of Italy, stands the city of Loreto on the summit of a hill. How this Shrine came to be is a fascinating story. Tradition has it that this is the House of Nazareth, the home of the Holy Family, which had been brought by angels from Nazareth to the Dalmatian coast, and later, by the same angels, transported to Loreto where it stands today enclosed within the Basilica Church. So Loreto Shrine exists inside the Basilica. The ?Holy House? itself is quite small, and its single room with a small alter contains a Black Madonna statue and a blue ceiling with golden stars.
Innumerable saints, blessed, popes and hundreds and thousands of people have paid homage to the ?Singular Vessel of Devotion” by visiting the home in which she was born, and in which she raised the only-begotten Son of God. Famous among them are St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Philip Neri, St. Francis de Sales, St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, St. Louis Marie de Montfort, and St. Therese of the Child Jesus just to mention a few. Forty-seven popes have knelt there during their pontificates and many others came to pray before they were elevated to the Holy See. The Litany of Our Lady (that we usually recite in our families at the end of the Rosary-Ladin), that most beautiful and poetic expression of her virtues, and her sublime role for both Heaven and Earth, is named after this Shrine, the Litany of Loreto. Our Lady of Loreto is the patroness of pilots.
Fr. Elias Franck the ex Gurkar led the prayer service at the start of the pilgrimage. Frs. Maxim and Leo, led the group with their melodious songs. Fr Rocky Capuchin presided over the Holy Eucharist at the Shrine. In his touching and spiritually enriching homily, Fr. Rocky said that ?Mother Mary?s? Heart is a true tabernacle where we find the bread of eternal life, Jesus. Highlighting the Gospel for the second Sunday of Lent he said that Mother Mary is the true model for an Transfiguration, she is the easy way for us to have our mountain experience with Risen Christ. Our lady of Loreto will never send us empty handed who have come to her feet with great devotion. In the prayers of the faithful were also included the intentions of our dear and near ones back at home and also the recent victims of earthquake in Chile.
After the Holy Eucharist we had our fellowship-meal with Mangalorean flavours. Everyone shared what they brought with them until all had enough and more. After the lunch the pilgrims spent enough time to pray and go around the shrine. It was a real miracle and a singular privilege for the pilgrims for this very shrine which was visited by St. Therese of the Child Jesus while she lived was also visited today now with her relics. It was a wonderful coincident and real blessing for the pilgrims to pray before her relics.
Fr. Leo on behalf of the Konkni Kutam thanked Fr. Eugine and Br. Tony and Ms. Nancy who took real pains to organize this pilgrimage with meticulous details. Fr. Eugine (gurkar) thanked the Konkni Kutam for the cooperation extended by each one to make this pilgrimage a beautiful experience. The presence of Vansanthi Amma( konkni Sarasvath) was the sign that Konkani made us one.
Author: Stan Rodrigues OCD- Rome