Arriving in Fatima and praying at the chapel of the apparitions, Pope Francis returned to the popular sanctuary for the blessing of the candles and the rosary recital, according to the official Vatican program.
The Pope’s pilgrimage takes place on the occasion of the centenary of Virgin’s apparitions to the three shepherds – the Blessed Jacinta and Francisco, who have been canonized and sister Lucia, the last visionary of Fatima disappeared in 2005 at 97 years. As soon as he arrived in the sanctuary, the pontiff stopped silently and prayed in front of the little and beloved statue of Our Lady in the chapel of the sanctuary that every year welcomes millions of pilgrims from all over the world. That same place where in that distant May 13, 1917 the Virgin appeared to three simple children, which is now crowded with an immense crowd of pilgrims.
The Pope then presided the rite of candlelight with the choir’s chant. The clearing of the shrine is full of pilgrims, who are still arriving in the evening. “If we want to be Christians we must be Marian,” says Pope Francis at the beginning of his greeting. According to Pope Francis, we must recognize the providential bond that unites Our Lady with Jesus and opens the way that leads us to Him. When we recite the rosary in this blessed place and in every other place, “the Gospel resumes its course in everybody’s life , in families and in all world, “continues the Pope. Pope Francis invites us to be pilgrims with Mary,” teacher of spiritual life”, the first who followed Christ along the narrow path of the cross, giving us the example.
As the Pope reminds us from the beginning of his pontificate it is important to “give mercy to judgment”. God’s mercy does not deny justice because Jesus took our sins on himself, paying for us on the cross. With the faith that unites us to the cross of Christ we are free from our sins. Let us therefore leave all forms of fear because “it does not belong to the loved”. Pope Francis reminds us once again, “God always pardons, forgive everything.” Taken by the hand of the Virgin Mother and under her gaze we can sing with joy “the mercies of the Lord” and each of us can rejoice in the Lord, for the mercy he has had toward all saints and the whole people and that also came to me.
In the light of the candles just blessed by the Pope a silent crowd recites the Holy Rosary, after which the Mass will be celebrated presided by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin.
The Pope will celebrated the Mass during which Jacinta and Francisco will be proclaimed saints.