Catholic Church gets new children saints as Pope canonizes Fatima visionaries

18 May, 2017, 17:43 | Author: Warren Cooper
  • Image A pilgrim in Fatima

Pope Francis has created two of the Catholic Church's youngest saints by canonising a brother and sister who had visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago.

"Dear pilgrims, we have a Mother".

But France is a famously secular country and a year ago, a court in the town of Publier ordered a statue of the Virgin Mary to be removed from a public park. That once sleepy town now attracts in excess of one million tourists a year, and it is said that Medjugorje now has more tourist beds than the rest of the country.

The liturgy, which was celebrated in Portuguese and Latin, and according to the authorities was attended by 500,000 people while eight cardinals, 71 bishops and 2,000 priests concelebrated. Its report has not been published but was given to Pope Francis in 2014. The huge crowd erupted in cheers and applause as the pontiff's open-topped, white popemobile arrived at Fatima's vast square.

The siblings died two years after the visions during Europe's Spanish flu pandemic. He will comfort us and give us strength, just like he did for St. Francisco and St. Jacinta and for every saint, he said.

Jacinta and Francisco Marto, along with their cousin, claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary six different times between May and October of 1917.

The Marian apparitions began May 13, 1917, when 9-year-old Francisco and 7-year-old Jacinta, along with their 10-year-old cousin Lucia dos Santos, reported seeing the Virgin Mary.

Pope Francis will canonize on Saturday two poor, illiterate shepherd children whose visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago marked one of the most important events of the 20th-century Catholic Church.

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"In his message, the Pope also said he is entrusting all Portuguese faithful to Our Lady asking her to whisper into the ears of each one of them, and assure them that her Immaculate Heart is a refuge and a path leading them to God", a statement on the Vatican website said.

The statue of the Virgin Mary is carried on shoulders in a procession prior to the start of a mass at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima Saturday, May 13, 2017, in Fatima, Portugal.

The third secret was not disclosed until 1943, when, on her sick bed, Bishop Silvato asked Lucia to make a written record of the details of the apparition due to her illness and in the event of her death.

The pilgrims traditionally walk there as an expression of thanks to Our Lady of Fatima for helping them, or to pray to her for help.

Pope Francis called on the pilgrims to follow the example of heroic virtue lived by St. Francisco and St. Jacinta, particularly their insistent prayer for sinners and their adoration of "the hidden Jesus" in the tabernacle. "But also to pray for our families, and to ask for peace in Ukraine and the world, as Mary has asked us to do", she told Crux.

The pope is leaving Saturday after a visit of less than 24 hours. But they held fast and eventually the church recognised the apparitions as authentic in 1930.

Marking the milestone is momentous for devotees such as Mary Kruso, a mother of four from Wyandotte who has visited the Fatima site in Portugal and credits devotion with deepening her faith. The three "secrets of Fatima" include apocalyptic style prophesies of hell, world wars and the need to convert Russian Federation.

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