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Pope to make Fatima child shepherds saints

(FILES) This file photo taken on April 9, 2017 shows Pope Francis as he blesses the palms during the Palm Sunday mass, at St Peter’s square in Vatican. The White House raised the possibility on April 19, 2017 of Donald Trump meeting Pope Francis during the US president’s trip to Italy in late May, although it stressed nothing has been scheduled. “We will be reaching out to the Vatican to see if an audience with the pope can be accommodated,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said. “We would be honored to have an audience with his holiness.”Trump is scheduled to participate in the G7 summit of leaders on May 26-27 in Taormina, Sicily. Prior to that, he is expected to attend a NATO summit in Brussels.<br />/ AFP PHOTO / Alberto PIZZOLI

Two of the three child shepherds to whom the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared in Fatima, Portugal a century ago will be declared saints on May 13, Pope Francis announced Thursday.

The canonisation of Jacinta and Francisco Marto will take place during the Argentine pontiff’s visit to one of Catholicism’s major pilgrimage sites.

The trip has been timed to mark the 100th anniversary of the first reported apparitions of the Virgin who, according to Catholic tradition, shared three major prophesies with the children.

Jacinta was seven at the time, her brother Francisco was nine and their cousin, Lucia, was 10.

The siblings both died before reaching adolescence and are buried at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima.

They will be the youngest non-martyrs to be canonised in the history of the church.

After her first visit, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to them several times over a six-month period, always on the 13th.

This prompted thousands to gather on the spot on October 13, 1917, with several witnesses saying they had seen the sun “miraculously” dance in the sky.

Their cousin Lucia joined a convent. In 1941 she said she and the siblings had been given three secrets by Mary; the first was a vision of Hell and the second was a warning that another, more devastating war was looming — the Second World War.

The third secret she kept to herself for years, before finally being persuaded to write it down and it was delivered to the Vatican in 1957.

Finally published in 2000, it described a vision that was believed — with its depiction of the death of a man robed in white — to have been a prophecy of the 1981 assassination attempt on pope John Paul II.

Francis, 80, will be the fourth pope to visit the Fatima shrine, after Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.




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