Pope declares Fatima Shepherd children saints, 100 years after *Investigation begins on Lucia

By Editor on 14/05/2017

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Pope hugs Lucas Baptista, who in 2013 suffered severe head trauma he was not expected to survive, one of the Fatima miracles

Half a million people attended an open-air mass in Fatima, Portugal as Pope Francis made two shepherd children who died nearly a century ago saints.

Francis proclaimed Francisco and Jacinta Marto saints at the start of Mass on Saturday marking the centenary of their visions. 

One hundred years ago, the two children, and their cousin Lucia, said the Virgin Mary appeared to them and gave them three secrets, including the end of the Cold War and World War Two.

But the children were not believed and civil authorities threatened them with death by boiling oil if they didn't recant their story. But they held fast and eventually the church recognized the apparitions as authentic in 1930.

Pope Frances prayed at the tombs of two of the Portuguese shepherd children ahead of the Canonisation Mass, which was held in the open air and attended by half a million believers.   

Among those in the shrine's vast square was Brazilian boy Lucas Baptista who in 2013 suffered severe head trauma he was not expected to survive. His medically inexplicable healing was the 'miracle' needed for the siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto to be canonised.

The boy, aged 5 at the time, had fallen 21 feet (6.5 meters) from a window in 2013 and suffered severe head trauma. His doctors said he would be severely mentally disabled or in a vegetative state if he even survived. The boy not only survived but has no signs of any after-effects.

Pope Francis holds up a monstrance during an open-air solemn Mass to canonize Jacinta and Francisco Marto

Pope Francis holds up a monstrance during an open-air solemn Mass to canonize Jacinta and Francisco Marto,


'Our Lady foretold, and warned us about, a way of life that is godless and indeed profanes God in his creatures,' Francis said in his homily. 'Such a life, frequently proposed and imposed, risks leading to hell.'

He urged Catholics today to use the example of the Marto siblings and draw strength from God, even when adversity strikes.

'We can take as our examples Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta, whom the Virgin Mary introduced into the immense ocean of God's light and taught to adore him,' he said. 'That was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering.'

The Martos are now the youngest-ever saints who didn't die as martyrs.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims were on hand, many of whom had spent days at Fatima in quiet prayer, reciting rosaries before a statue of the Madonna. They clapped in admiration after the pope recited the rite declaring the Martos saints. 

Francisco and Jacinta, were aged 9 and 7, when they reported that on March 13, 1917, the Virgin Mary made the first of a half-dozen appearances to them here while they grazed their sheep. They said she confided in them three secrets - foretelling apocalyptic visions of hell, war, communism and the death of a pope - and urged them to pray for peace and a conversion away from sin.

At the time, Europe was in the throes of World War I, and the Portuguese church was suffering under anti-clerical laws from the republican government that had forced many bishops and priests into exile. 

The Marto siblings died two years after the visions during Europe's Spanish flu pandemic. Lucia is on track for possible beatification, but her process couldn't start until after her 2005 death. 

Before the ceremony, a statue of the Virgin Mary was paraded around the square in bright sunshine as people threw petals at it. 

The pope is leaving Saturday after a visit of less than 24 hours. He is due to attend a farewell ceremony at a nearby military air base where his plane is waiting.

From his popemobile he saluted thousands of people lining the streets who cheered, waved flags and shouted 'Viva o Papa!' 

In a video message to the people of Portugal before his journey, Pope Francis said he would 'present' himself to the Virgin Mary. 

Pope Francis also met privately with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa at the start of the second day of his visit to the Fatima shrine in Portugal.

Agnes Walsh travelled from Killarney, Ireland, for the canonisation. 

She said: 'It is amazing, it is like an answer to prayer because I felt that always they would be canonized.' 

She said she prayed to Francisco Marto for 20 years, hoping her four daughters would meet 'nice boys like Francisco.'

'The four of them have met boys that are just beautiful I couldn't ask for better, so he has answered all my prayers,' she said.

In 2000, St. John Paul II beatified the Marto siblings during a Mass at Fatima and used the occasion of the new millennium to reveal the third 'secret' that the children reported they had received from the Madonna. 

The text, written by Lucia, had been kept in a sealed envelope inside the Vatican for decades, with no pope daring to reveal it because of its terrifying contents: a 'bishop dressed in white' - the pope - on his knees at the foot of a cross, killed in a hail of bullets and arrows, along with other bishops, priests and various lay Catholics. 

It wasn't until 2000 that the Vatican disclosed the long-awaited third secret, describing it as a prediction of the 1981 assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II.  

Fatima has long been associated with St John Paul II, given the Polish-born pope credited the Virgin Mary with having saved his life in 1981 when a would-be assassin shot him on Fatima's feast day - May 13 - in St. Peter's Square.

John Paul made the first of his three pilgrimages to Fatima the following May, and one of the bullets fired at him now adorns the crown of the Madonna at the shrine.

Like John Paul, the Argentinian-born Francis is exceedingly devoted to the Madonna, thanks in large part to the strong role that Marian devotions play in the popular piety of Latin American Catholics.



Source Daily Mail

Posted on May, 14 2017

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