VATICAN CITY — This year marks the 90th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s proclamation of Our Lady of Loreto as the patron of air travelers.
The Vatican is celebrating the anniversary with a new airmail letter sheet called an aerogram. Each sheet of the foldable, lightweight blue paper costs €1 (about $1.30) and includes the price of postage for sending it anywhere in the world.
Describing the story behind the aerogram, which will go on sale Sept. 20, the Vatican said, “The Holy House of Loreto is one of the most visited Marian shrines in Italy. Inside can be found the Holy House of Nazareth, the place where Our Lady received the Annunciation…. According to tradition, the Holy House was transported by angels from Nazareth to Italy.”
The bronze plate reproduced on the aerogram is sometimes mounted on the body of airplanes; it shows angels flying the house across the sea and, in Latin, invokes a safe flight.