Pope Francis addresses pilgrims outside the Shrine of the Holy House of Loreto on March 25.
VATICAN CITY- Pope Francis has decreed that the feast of Our Lady of Loreto be included in the Roman Calendar as an optional memorial to be celebrated on Dec. 10.
With the decree, the optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Loreto must appear in all calendars and liturgical books for the celebration of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.
Catholic pilgrims travel to the small Italian town of Loreto to stand inside the Holy House of Mary, preserved in a basilica, in which Tradition holds that the Virgin Mary was born, raised and greeted by the Gabriel the Archangel at the Annunciation.
"In the Holy House, before the image of the Mother of the Redeemer and of the Church, saints and blesseds have responded to their vocation, the sick have invoked consolation in suffering, the people of God have begun to praise and plead with Mary using the Litany of Loreto, which is known throughout the world," it states.
The reading for the Liturgy of the Hours comes from St. John Paul II. Pope Francis visited the Holy House in Loreto earlier this year on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, during which 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," Pope Francis said in Loreto March 25.