... while also recalling the miraculous "lift off" of the Virgin Mary's house to Loreto.
In 1920, not long after British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown made the first non-stop transatlantic flight, the Vatican’s Congregation of Sacred Rites approved the blessing of an airplane.
The blessing has a three-fold structure that connects aviation to different spiritual truths.
The first part of the blessing prays that the plane “foster in the souls of all the faithful who travel in it a longing for the things above.”
God, who made all things for your glory, yet destined every lower being in this world for man’s service, we beg you to bless + this airplane (these airplanes). Let it (them) serve to carry far and wide the fame and glory of your name, and in expediting more speedily the affairs of mankind without loss and accident. And let it (them) foster in the souls of all the faithful who travel in it (them) a longing for the things above; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.
Then the blessing turns to the patron saint of aviation, Our Lady of Loreto. It recalls the miraculous “lift off” of the Virgin Mary’s house in Nazareth to the forests of Loreto, Italy. In doing so, the blessing calls upon her intercession to protect all those who fly on the airplane.
God, who by the mystery of the incarnation mercifully consecrated the dwelling-place of the blessed Virgin Mary, and wondrously transferred it to the heart of your Church; we beg you to pour out your blessing + on this airplane (these airplanes), so that all who fly in it (them) may, under the protection of the Blessed Virgin, happily reach their destination and then safely return home; through Christ our Lord.
How Our Lady’s home of Nazareth ended up in Italy
Last of all the blessing asks God to appoint a guardian angel to be an “escort” and guide for the airplane, making sure everyone arrives safely to their destination.
God, the salvation of those who trust in you, kindly appoint a good angel from on high as an escort for your servants who make an airplane voyage and who call on you for help. Let him shield the passengers throughout the flight and conduct them safely to their destination; through Christ our Lord.
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