Pope to celebrate Fatima, Vatican II anniversaries

By Estefania Aguirre

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Pope Francis. Credit: Angélica Rocha via JMJ Rio 2013-Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Pope Francis will take part in a mid-October Marian celebration commemorating the final apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization organized a Marian weekend on Oct. 12 and 13 upon the request of former pontiff Benedict XVI.

This event will mark the fifty-first anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, as well as the dates of the last apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, in Portugal.

On Oct. 13, 1917 at Cova da Iria, Mary appeared for the sixth time to three shepherd children: Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. During the apparition, the sun changed color, size and position for about ten minutes, and has since been known as the ‘miracle of the sun.’

The theme of the Vatican gathering will be “Blessed are you for believing!” and will include the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which will be brought to Saint Peter’s Square and exposed for veneration.

There will be a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Peter at 8 a.m. on Oct. 12, with Eucharistic Adoration and confession at 9 a.m. in nearby churches.

Pope Francis will welcome the statue at 5 p.m. in Saint Peter’s Square, where he will then give a catechesis on Mary.

At 7 p.m., the statue will be taken to the Sanctuary of Divine Love, where people will pray the rosary simultaneously in Marian shrines across the world. The day will then end with a prayer vigil.

On Oct. 13, the statue will be taken back to Saint Peter’s Square at 10 a.m. where faithful will pray the Rosary, followed by Mass at 10:30 a.m. celebrated by Pope Francis.

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