December 13, 2010

Pope Benedict blessed a statue of Our Lady of Loreto, which will be placed in Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport to mark the 90th anniversary of the proclamation of Our Lady of Loreto as patron saint of aviation.

The modern bronze statue depicts Mary holding the baby Jesus and standing on a globe with airplanes attached to it.

Airport executives said the statue would be placed in a "public and visible" location at the airport after a Mass there Dec. 10, the feast of Our Lady of Loreto.

Tradition holds that Mary's house was flown by angels from Nazareth to Loreto, Italy, in 1292.

Today, millions of pilgrims flock to Loreto each year to venerate the tiny cottage in which the Holy Family is thought to have lived when Jesus was young.