Fatima readies to welcome pope under tight security

Trevor Jackson
May 13, 2017

Apart from the regular pilgrimages and the religious celebrations, the 100th anniversary will be celebrated until 13 October 2017 with a wide-ranging cultural programme including a number of exhibitions, concerts of sacred music, performances relating to the apparitions, conferences, summer courses and the International Congress "Thinking Fátima", which will be held in June. Jacinta was 7 years old and Francisco, 9, on May 13, 1917, and their cousin Lucia dos Santos was 10.

The main goal of the trip to the central Portuguese town, which receives around 7 million people a year, is a huge open-air Mass today to declare two of the children saints.

The candlelight night-time Mass is traditionally popular with pilgrims.

After nightfall, the crowds remained as compact as they had been since early morning.

Pope Francis prayed silently before a statue of the Virgin Mary and urged followers to make God's justice and peace known. Catholics consider the appearance one of the most important spiritual events in the 20th century.

There have been more than 1,500 visions of the Virgin Mary reported around the world in the last century but only nine cases have received the official approval of the Vatican.

He spoke after spending several minutes in silent prayer before the statue of the Madonna at the chapel built in Fatima at the site of the apparitions. Then, at his first Angelus as pope in St. Peter's Square on March 17, 2013, speaking about mercy, Francis recalled how the statute of Our Lady of Fatima was brought to Buenos Aires in 1992-the year he was made bishop. Estimates are that numbers will exceed 400,000, with visitors arriving from all over the country and the rest of the world to catch a glimpse of the Catholic pontiff.

Offering a prayer at the spot where three shepherd children reported seeing Mary in a field 100 years ago, Pope Francis asked Friday that humanity might have the courage to choose a culture of encounter over a culture of conflict and would "tear down all walls".

Pope Francis Al Italia Monte Real air base in Portugal and Pope Francis has disembarked.

"She recovered and since then I come every year". But the most important message of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the three children and the rest of the world is, "I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russian Federation to My Immaculate Heart..."

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At this time in our lives and in the history of the world, it seems things could never be worse: Christians and others are being murdered- decapitated even- for their faith in God; and children not yet born are being dismembered in the mothers' womb because they are believed to be an "inconvenience" to their mothers, and their body parts sold for cash by those who murder them; elders are being encouraged to request "assisted suicide", and told it is the merciful thing to do; and in at least four African countries people are starving to death because of drought and other nations seem not to notice the plight of their sisters and brothers of our one heavenly Father.

Francis has issued two major reforms to the multi-million dollar saint-making process after the Vatican uncovered gross abuses that were revealed in two books.

May 11 Thousands of police on alert, border controls tightened, anti-drone measures: Portugal is taking no chances with security ahead of a pilgrimage by Pope francis to the famous shrine of Fatima.

Cardinal Martins said this synthesis of the message of Fatima is not only relevant for the world today, but "it's an obligation for the Church".

They normally pray in the chapel at the church, but this Saturday they expect a bigger turnout.

The visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima "is a bit special", he told reporters aboard his flight from Rome May 12.

There will be various other programmes all over the Archdiocese on the day and the World Apostolate of Fatima has called on priests to lead the Act of Consecration publicly on Saturday at the end of Masses.

And she doesn't get angry or protest: she simply stands and listens, Pope Francis said, pointing to the relationship between listening and the virtue of hope.

Pilgrims wait for the pope's arrival on Friday.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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