Pope Canonizes Two Child Visionaries in Fátima, Portugal

Pope Canonizes Two Child Visionaries in Fátima, Portugal

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Fatima, the pope asked tens of thousands of pilgrims May 12 to reflect on "which Mary" they choose to venerate, "the virgin Mary from the Gospel" or "one who restrains the arm of a vengeful God?"

The apparitions happened within one month of each other, the last one taking place on October 13, 1917. Many had spent days at Fatima in prayer, reciting rosaries before a statue of the Madonna.

"At the foot of the cross, Jesus entrusted us to Mary (through the apostle John)".

Francis is spending fewer than 24 hours in Fatima to celebrate the centenary of the apparitions and canonize two of the three shepherd children. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, at 10 the ringleader of the group, is on track for beatification, the first step toward becoming a saint. Normally, a candidate must be associated with at least two miracles.

The story of the Marto children has captivated Catholics ever since their first reported vision on May 13, 1917. On Oct. 13 on a cloudy day, the "Miracle of the Sun" took place. "The faithful, the bishops, the Pope did not fail to heed the requests of the Mother of God and of man: the whole world was consecrated to her". "Who'd have guessed that Fatima would turn out like this?"

The fourth apparition on August 13 was denied to the children by the anti-clerical civil authorities. The second was that World War I would end - it did, a little more than a year after the children saw their first apparition - and that another great war would come if the people of Russian Federation were not converted to Catholicism. A newspaper of the day reported, "Before their dazzled eyes the sun trembled, the sun made unusual and brusque movements, defying all the laws of the cosmos, and according to the typical expression of the peasants, 'the sun danced'". She then appeared as Our Lady of sorrows and then as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The three children had a vision of hell where they saw the souls of poor sinners.

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This continual presence of God taught to them by Mary, he said, "was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering". "Lead all should to heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy". "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". Some have argued that this included a warning against the reforms of Vatican II and as a result the Church hierarchy wants to hide the full details of the third secret. She wrote it down. First, she let the children see a brief vision of hell-"we saw something like an ocean of fire". Although Sister Lucia agreed that the principal figure in the vision was the Pope, she did not know who that Pope was.

John Paul donated the bullet to Fatima, and it was inserted into the crown adorning a statue of Mary there.

The late Pope John Paul II was shot by a Turkish gunman on 13 May 1981.

Two young children who had visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago in Fatima, a Portuguese site now a global draw for pilgrims, have been declared saints by Pope Francis.

Those, who disbelieved the shepherd children in 1917, or sought to protect them from themselves, or simply opposed them, have gone to their reward, and while some of Our Lady's promises seem arguably to have been kept, and the worst of the consequences against which she warned us seem perhaps to have been averted at least for now, the spectre of war has not ceased, and many nations that once made the Cross of Christ their glory, seem now to have forgotten him and to scoff at His commands. Sister Lucia is now on the path to sainthood. Perhaps one of the paramount implications of the apparitions is Mother Mary's insistence on peace, peace in the world, peace with oneself and others.

The Fatima mystery has fascinated Catholics and non-Catholics alike for a century, blending visions of the Virgin, supernatural meteorological events and apocalyptic messages of hell, World War II, communism and the death of a pope.

"In this way, may the Virgin Mother shape us, pressing us to her Immaculate Heart, as she did with Lucia, Bl".

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