On Dec. 10, the Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Loreto. Loreto refers to the Holy House of Loreto, in the house in which Mary was born, and where the angel Gabriel appeared to her at the Annunciation. 

According to tradition, a band of angels stopped up the house from the Holy Land, transporting it first to Tersato, Dalmatia in 1291, Recanati, Italy, in 1294, and finally to Loreto, Italy, where it has remained for centuries. 

It is this flight that has made Our Lady of Loreto the patron of people involved in aviation. The long life of the house led to her patronage of builders and construction workers. 

Our Lady of Loreto is the first shrine of international renown dedicated to Mary. Popes especially have always had a special connection to the Shrine of Loreto, and it is under their direct authority and protection.