Pope sets May 13 as canonization date for Fatima siblings

Pope sets May 13 as canonization date for Fatima siblings

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis confirmed Thursday he will use his upcoming visit to the Portuguese shrine at Fatima to canonize two Portuguese shepherd children who say they saw visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago.

Francis convened his cardinals to formally set the May 13 date for the saint-making Mass.

Originally, Francis had planned to travel to Fatima on May 12-13 to merely mark the anniversary of the apparitions, which turned the tiny northern Portuguese town into one of the world’s most popular Catholic pilgrimage sites.

But last month, Francis signed off on the miracle needed to make siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto saints, leading to speculation he would also use the occasion of the visit to canonize them. Church officials say the miracle concerned an inexplicable cure of a Brazilian child.

The Marto siblings say the Virgin Mary appeared to them and their cousin six times above an olive tree in 1917 and told them three secrets. The brother and sister died of pneumonia two years later, at the ages of 9 and 11.

St. John Paul II beatified them in Fatima on May 13, 2000, the same day the Vatican revealed the third and final secret purportedly told to them. The first two had already been reported: a vision of “hell” interpreted as World War II, and the rise and fall of Soviet Communism. The Vatican said in 2000 that the third secret foretold the 1981 assassination attempt on John Paul.

John Paul credited the Fatima Madonna with saving him, and one of the bullets fired at him by a Turkish gunman in St. Peter’s Square 36 years ago is kept in the crown of the Fatima statue at the sanctuary. Francis is expected to pray before the icon during his visit.

With the Marto children soon to be declared saints, all that remains is the saint-making case of their cousin and co-visionary, Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, who became a Carmelite nun and died in 2005.

In February, Portuguese church officials turned over 15,000 pages of testimony and other documentation to the Vatican for review to determine if she can be declared to have lived a life of heroic virtue, the first step in the Vatican’s complicated saint-making process.

Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press

Just Posted

New hospital cost to taxpayers still unknown

Ellis to probe budget estimates: “I’m still not convinced it will actually go ahead”

Ross is counting on Wilkinson to stick to his promise to fight for the north

Skeena BC Liberal MLA Ellis Ross is counting on newly-elected BC Liberal… Continue reading

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

BC Wine Institute to take legal action against Alberta

The BC Wine Institute to seek injunction to protect B.C. wineries from Alberta wine ban

BC BUDGET: Tobacco tax hike may light up black market in smokes

NDP government adds another 56 cents per pack as of April 1

4 treatment centres to open in memory of B.C. teen who died of an overdose

A treatment centre for addictions is opening in Penticton after the first one fell through

Quesnel Soup event to crowdfund community improvement projects

Groups invited to pitch; event attendees will vote to help fund innovative community projects

BCHL Today: Merritt peaking at right time and Taylor signs with UNH Wildcats

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Video: B.C. firefighters featured in quirky video

Oliver Fire Department posts video about their B.C. volunteer firefighter spring training seminar

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals push Canada into third place

A gold in ski cross and a bronze in bobsleigh as men’s hockey advances to the semis

Most Read