04/20/2017, 16.21

Pope to proclaim saints young Fatima shepherd children on 13 May

The canonisation will take place during Francis's trip to Portugal. Francisco and Jacinta Marto will be the first children in the history of the Church to be proclaimed saints without being martyrs.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis announced today during the ordinary public consistory that Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the two young shepherd children from Fatima, will be canonised during his visit to Portugal on 13 May.

Canonisation will take place during the pope’s apostolic journey on the centenary of the Apparitions of the Virgin in Fatima. Our Lady appeared to three children on 13 May 1917 and reappeared to them every 13th of the month until October of that year. Francisco and Jacinta will be the first children in the history of the Church to be proclaimed saints without being martyrs.

On 13May 2000, John Paul II beatified the two shepherd children, Francisco and Jacinta, during a pilgrimage to Fatima. Together with the brother and sister, Pope Francis will canonise their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, who became a nun and lived to the age of 98.

Francisco was born in 1908 and was almost nine when the "White Lady" appeared to him and his seven-year-old sister Jacinta. Both died within a few years: Francisco in 1919, and Jacinta the following year.

During the Consistory, the pontiff announced the canonisation on 15 October of other blessed. Three of them, Cristóbal, Antonio and Juan, adolescent martyrs, were killed because of their faith in Mexico, the first by his own father in 1527, the other two by native Mexicans in 1529.

The others to be canonised are André de Soveral, and Ambrósio Francisco Ferro, diocesan priests, and Mateus Moreira, a layperson, alongside 27 companions, martyrs; Piarist Fr Manuel Míguez González (Faustino of the Incarnation), founder of the Daughters of the Divine Shepherdess – better known as the Calasanzian Institute; and Angelo da Acri (né Luca Antonio Falcone), professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.

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