Vatican City, Oct 12, 2016 / 20:49 pm
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, is traveling to Fatima, Portugal ahead of Pope Francis' own visit, which will take place next year for the 100-year anniversary of Mary's appearance there.
Cardinal Parolin's Oct. 11-13 visit occurs seven months before the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, the anniversary of her first appearance.
Pope Francis confirmed during an in-flight press conference returning from his trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan earlier this month that he would travel to Fatima on May 13, 2017, but that he did not know whether or not he would go a day earlier on May 12 for the vigil celebration.
Cardinal Parolin's itinerary for the trip included a stop in Lisbon, where he gave a talk on "The Identity of Europe" at a conference at the Catholic University of Portugal, which will mark the 50th anniversary of its founding in 2017.