Vatican City, Dec 17, 2016 / 05:59 am
Though rumors have been floating around for some time, the Vatican confirmed Saturday that Pope Francis will travel to Fatima, Portugal May 12-13 in honor of the centenary of the apparitions.
"On the occasion of the centenary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Cova da Iria, and welcoming the invitation of the Republic and of the Portuguese bishops, His Holiness Pope Francis will go on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima May 12-13, 2017."
The announcement was made in a Dec. 17 communique from the Vatican. Official statements confirming the dates had already been made over the past few days by both the president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, as well as the Fatima Shrine itself.
Of all Marian apparitions, those relating to Our Lady of Fatima are among the most famous. On May 13, 1917, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto – 9 and 7 – and their cousin, 10-year-old Lucia dos Santos, took their sheep to graze near the Portuguese town of Fatima when they saw a figure of a woman dressed in white and holding a rosary.