Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Gerard O’ConnellMay 13, 2017
Pope Francis embraces Lucas Batista from Brazil as offertory gifts are presented during the canonization Mass of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto.Pope Francis embraces Lucas Batista from Brazil as offertory gifts are presented during the canonization Mass of Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

History was made at the shrine of Fatima at 10:30 a.m. on May 13 when Pope Francis declared that Francisco Marto and his sister Jacinta are saints. Francisco and Jacinta are the first child saints who are not martyrs in the history of the church.

Francisco, Jacinta and their cousin Lucia are buried here side by side in the basilica. Before Mass, Francis prayed in silence at the tombs of the three shepherd children. When Jacinta’s body was exhumed before being brought here, 15 years after her death, it was found to be totally uncorrupted. Because of this, the local bishop asked Lucia, by then a contemplative nun, to write the memoirs of Jacinta and Francisco, detailing the extraordinary events that have so powerfully impacted the lives of believers ever since.

Lucas Batista Maeda de Mourao, a ten-year-old Brazilian boy who was miraculously cured through the intercession of Francisco and Jacinta, was here for the canonization. Four years ago, he fell from the window of his grandfather’s home and suffered such serious brain damage. As his distraught father picked him up off the sidewalk to take him to the hospital, he invoked the intercession of Our Lady, Francisco, and Jacinta. That same night he and a local community of Carmelite nuns prayed to the two young seers to intercede with God to cure the boy. Some days later, to the amazement of the doctors, the young boy got up and walked home completely cured. Last February, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints concluded unanimously that his cure could not be scientifically explained. Francis recognized his cure as the miracle that opened the door to their canonization. The pope embraced and kissed Lucas tenderly when he brought up the offertory gifts.

In Fatima, Pope Francis said that “we have gathered here to give thanks to God for the countless graces bestowed over these past hundred years” starting here in Portugal and extending to “the four corners of the earth.”

He reminded those gathered that Our Lady introduced Sts. Francisco and Jacinta “into the immense ocean of God’s light and taught to adore him” and that this was “the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering."

Using references to the secrets of Fatima, Pope Francis’ words suggested that he was referring to the dramatic situation in the world today and his own ministry “as a bishop dressed in white.” Francis recalled that Jacinta was granted a vision and asked, “Do you not see all those streets, all those paths and fields full of people crying out for food, yet have nothing to eat? And the Holy Father in a church, praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary? And all those people praying with him?”

Pope Francis referenced the secrets of Fatima and his own ministry at the canonization Mass.

He thanked the crowds for coming to pray with him and said—as he also mentioned in his prayer yesterday at the chapel of the apparitions—that he had come “to venerate the Virgin Mary and to entrust to her all her sons and daughters. Under her mantle they are not lost; from her embrace will come the hope and the peace that they require.”

He said, too, that he had come here to entrust to her, and to pray for hope and peace, for all Christians—“all my brothers and sisters in baptism”, and for all members of “our human family, especially the sick and the disabled, prisoners and the unemployed, the poor and the abandoned.”

He reminded believers that “God created us to be a source of hope for others, a true and attainable hope, in accordance with each person’s state of life”—as Sr. Lucia said Our Lady asked for, and in this way “God effects a general mobilization against the indifference that chills the heart and worsens our myopia. We do not want to be a stillborn hope! Life can survive only because of the generosity of other lives.”

The message of Our Lady here one hundred years ago—calling for prayer, conversion, sacrifice and trust in God’s mercy—has lost none of its relevance for the 21st century.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Carlos Orozco
5 years 1 month ago

A day to rejoice. A day when the only battle that really matters becomes evident, that of salvation.

Pray for us, sweet children of Fatima!

The latest from america

A Mexican soldier patrols outside the Church in Cerocahui, Mexico, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
The bishops’ statement followed the slayings of two Jesuits and a person they were protecting in their parish—a crime attributed to a local crime boss in a part of the country dominated by drug cartels.
President Truman's envoy to the Vatican, Myron C. Taylor, left, has an audience with Pope Pius XII at Castelgandolfo near Rome, on Aug. 26, 1947. (AP Photo/Luigi Felici, File)
The documentation, published amid renewed debate about the legacy of the World War II-era pope, contains 2,700 files of requests for Vatican help from Jewish groups and families.
A school bus in front of a building; the building has a yellow banner on it that says “imagine a future free of gun violence.”
One month after Uvalde, we are growing numb to gun violence. Even so, we must resolve to comfort the mourners, to beat guns into plowshares, and to say “never again” and mean it.
Britt LubyJune 24, 2022
A man bows his head in prayer before a computer screen showing nine people doing the same
As pandemic restrictions have eased, most parishioners have returned to in-person Masses. But some would prefer the option for virtual services to remain.
Keara HanlonJune 24, 2022