Pope Francis to travel to Fatima May 12-13, 2017

Source: FSSPX News

The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Portugal.

The detailed program for the apostolic pilgrimage of Pope Francis to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal, from May 12 to 13, 2017.

The detailed program for the journey of Pope Francis to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal, from May 12 to 13, 2017, was made public on March 21. “More than an apostolic journey, it is an apostolic pilgrimage,” Greg Burke, director of Press Office of the Holy See, explained on May 5, “a Marian pilgrimage in the month of May.” The motto for this trip is: With Mary, pilgrim in hope and in peace.

On Friday, May 12, the Supreme Pontiff will arrive around 16:20 at the military air base of Monte Real, 40 km [25 miles] distant from Fatima. He will be welcomed at the airport by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. After a private meeting lasting about twenty minutes, the Pope will take a helicopter to travel to Fatima. The arrival ceremony at the municipal stadium of Fatima is scheduled for one hour later, and the ride to the Cova da Iria will be made in the “popemobile” through the streets of Fatima. The Pope will go to the Chapel of the Apparitions to recollect himself, then he will give his first speech. After dinner, at around 21:30, the Pope will bless the candles for the torchlight procession and will address the faithful before the recitation of the Rosary at the Chapel of the Apparitions. The day will conclude with a prayer vigil presided over by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, in the Basilica of Fatima.

On Saturday, May 13, Pope Francis is supposed to meet with the Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel House. Then, on that anniversary of the first apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1917, he will go to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, to pray at the tombs of the three shepherds, before celebrating the Mass of canonization of Francisco and Jacinta Marto at 10:00 on the square of the basilica. The Supreme Pontiff will present the homily and will give his blessing to the sick. After lunch with the bishops of Portugal, a departure ceremony is scheduled at the Monte Real air base. The papal plane will take off at 15:00.

The Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced on Portuguese Catholic Radio Renascença on March 18 that the Presidents of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, and of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes, will be present at the Marian shrine in Fatima on May 12-13. Also present will be the heads of state of Sao Tomé, Cap Vert and Guinea Bissau.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Ecclesia Dei Commission granted to priests who celebrate according to the Tridentine Rite the option of celebrating on May 13, 2017, a votive Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with the proper prayers from August 22, in order to “reawaken the devotion of the Christian faithful to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima”.

In 1917, from May to October, the Virgin Mary appeared six times at the Cova da Iria, near Fatima, to three young shepherds: Lucia dos Santos, Jacinta and Francisco Marto. On May 13, 1917, she appeared as a “woman clothed with the sun”. Jacinta and Francisco Marto were beatified on May 13, 2000, by John Paul II. The third seer, Sister Lucia dos Santos, was called home by God on February 13, 2005. On January 13, 2017, the Diocese of Coimbra announced the conclusion of the diocesan phase of the canonization process of Sister Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart (1907-2005). (See DICI no. 351 dated March 17, 2017).

The Church in Portugal is organized in 21 dioceses, including the military ordinariate, and 4,424 parishes. It has 49 bishops and 3,500 priests; since 1970, the number of priests has decreased by half. Nevertheless, the number of religious (600+) and of seminarians (300+) has been increasing for seven years.

Between 800,000 and a million people are expected in Fatima on May 12 and 13, on the occasion of the Pope’s visit, the Holy See noted on May 5. This is about twice the capacity of the shrine. Expected to participate in the event are 2,000 priests, 71 bishops, and 8 cardinals, two of them Portuguese: Josè Saraiva Martins, Prefect-emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, and Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Major Penitentiary-emeritus. 432 volunteers will offer their help on site, and 2,000 journalists are expected to cover this pilgrimage by the Pope.