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Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2494

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Pope declares child visionaries of Fatima to be saints on 100th anniversary of apparitions


Pope Francis has recognised two shepherd children who saw Our Lady appear at Fatima, Portugal, a century ago as saints.

The Holy Father canonised Francisco and Jacinta Marto, a brother and sister, at the shrine complex on the 100th anniversary of the apparitions.

“We declare the blissful Francisco Marto and Jacinta Marto saints,” the Argentine Jesuit Pontiff said to thunderous applause from half a million pilgrims at the Mass of canonisation on Saturday.

The two children first saw Our Lady on 13 May 1917 along with their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, who died in 2005 at the age of 97.

Francisco and Jacinta died in the 1918-1919 flu epidemic, aged 10 and nine respectively, and they become the youngest non-martyrs ever to be recognised as saints.

Their canonisation became possible after the Church recognised healing miracles at their intercession. The cause for the beatification of Sister Lucia opened in 2008.

Pope Francis, who performed the canonisation during a two-day pilgrimage, reminded fellow pilgrims to place their hope for humanity in Our Lady and Our Lord.

“We have a Mother, ‘so beautiful a Lady’, as the seers of Fatima said to one another as they returned home on that blessed day of May 13, 100 years ago,” the Pope said in his homily.

“That evening, Jacinta could not restrain herself and told the secret to her mother: ‘Today I saw Our Lady.’”

The Pope also reflected on the message imparted to the three children by the Blessed Virgin Mary, including the warnings against sinful and godless lives.

“Such a life – frequently proposed and imposed – risks leading to hell,” the Pope said. “Mary came to remind us that God’s light dwells within us and protects us.”

He continued: “Dear pilgrims, we have a Mother. Clinging to her like children, we live in the hope that rests on Jesus.”

Relics of Ss Francisco and Jacinta will be taken to Shrewsbury Cathedral this weekend along with the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima. The full programme of events follows.