.- The Catholic Church in Portugal expressed satisfaction and gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for waving the five-year waiting period in order to begin the process of beatification of Sister Lucia, one of the three visionaries of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima.
In a statement, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Portugal, Bishop Jose Ortiga, expressed “our great joy at the wonderful decision by the Holy Father,” which is a call to all Christians to seek holiness. Bishop Antonio Marto of Leiria-Fatima, where the famous shrine to Our Lady of Fatima is located, said he received the news with “enormous satisfaction.”
Bishop Luciano Guerra, the current rector of the Shrine of Fatima, said the faithful and the priests at the basilica “have welcomed the news with great joy, because it is another sign of the importance of Sister Lucia for the Church and for the world.”
Benedict XVI waived the waiting period for the opening of the beatification process, which Canon Law establishes as five years after the death of the candidate. Sister Lucia died three years ago in Coimbra, Portugal, where she lived most of her life. The announcement was made Wednesday by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, in a ceremony at the Cathedral of Coimbra.