Speaking of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto, two of the young shepherds who saw the Virgin, and whom Francis will declare saints on Saturday, the pope asked in his prayer that they might become an example for all those who devote themselves to proclaiming the Gospel.
Pope Francis is urging Catholics to "tear down all walls" and go to the peripheries to spread peace and justice.
The Holy Father made the remarks in his homily at the Mass which he gave after the rite of canonization. "We stood guard just like soldiers", she joked. "They (were) born in freedom", she said. "What remains was already evident when we began our reflections on the text of the "secret": the exhortation to prayer as the path of "salvation for souls" and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion". "We can feel something very profound: this connection with God, with Our Lady". The first came in 1967, on the 50th anniversary of the apparitions, which took place back in 1917.
According to the children, the Madonna shared with them three secrets, prophecies about the future of humanity.
Those who are united to the cross of Christ through their faith, Francis said, are freed from their sins and put aside the fear "as unbefitting those who are loved".
A commemoration of the Fatima apparitions is being held today at Dar tal-Kleru in Birkirkara. May this hope guide our lives!
"Don't forget: There is always a great relationship between hope and listening".
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Lucia said the Virgin Mary also called for the "consecration" of Russian Federation, adding: "If my requests are heeded Russian Federation will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church". That was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering.
While the rest of the vigil, which ends at 7 a.m., is filled with different prayers including Masses, the Stations of the Cross and the Liturgy of the Hours, to start this vigil in silence is key to placing oneself in the presence of God. The first two secrets were revealed in 1942, but the world had to wait until 2000 to discover the third secret, after Lucia sealed its content in an envelope handed to the Vatican in 1957, captivating the imagination of believers all over the world and giving rise to endless conspiracies and apocalyptic writings. While St John Paul II consecrated the entire world to Mary's Immaculate Heart, devotees of Fatima say that this needed to be more specific to Russian Federation. "And all those people praying with him?"
"I thank you for all the prayers and sacrifices that you offer daily for me". I could not fail to come here to venerate the Virgin Mary and to entrust to her all her sons and daughters.
In the homily of a huge outdoor Mass, Francis prayed that the Madonna would protect the most vulnerable members of society, "especially the sick and the disabled, prisoners and the unemployed, the poor and the abandoned".
"Is it of any help to us at the beginning of the new millennium?" Indeed, "if we want to be Christian, we must be Marian; in a word, we have to acknowledge the essential, vital and providential relationship uniting Our Lady to Jesus, a relationship that opens before us the way leading to him" (PAUL VI, Address at the Shine of Our Lady of Bonaria, Cagliari, 24 April 1970). Life can survive only because of the generosity of other lives. "Sooner or later, it will bear fruit". We do not mount the cross to find Jesus.
However, rather than being accompanied by music and hymns, this return procession is done completely in silence, Fr. Pereira said, adding that "it's incredible that even when the shrine is full of people, all the people make absolute silence because it's a sign that we want to listen to the presence of God". "In hard moments, may Mary, the mother that Jesus has given to us all, always guide our steps". Thus may we rediscover the young and handsome face of the Church, which shines forth when she is missionary, welcoming, free, faithful, poor in means and rich in love.
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