Francis travels to Portugal on 12 and 13 May to sanctify Francisco (1908-1919) and Jacinta Marto (1910-1920). The 13th of May is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Marian Apparitions, which lasted from May to October 1917. With millions of pilgrims, Fatima is now the second largest place of pilgrimage in Europe.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke announced that before the canonization, Francis would meet the oldest priest of Portugal, a 104-year-old. Prior to this, a brief meeting is planned between the head of the Church with Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
The Pope will be welcomed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on 12 May at the Air Force Base in Monte Real. After an interview and a visit to the chapel of the airfield, Francis goes by helicopter to Fatima, 40 kilometers away.
There he will first pray privately in the Chapel of the Apparition before he sends a greeting to the faithful in the evening and prays the Rosary with them. Subsequently, Cardinal Secretary Pietro Parolin, with thousands, will celebrate a Vigil Mass on the square of the Shrine.
With the Sacred Ceremony on the 13th of May, the pope brings the seer children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, into the list of the deceased who are allowed to be venerated in all Catholic churches worldwide. For the third seer, Lucia dos Santos (1907-2005), the beatification process is still ongoing. There were speculations that on the same day, she could also be blessed or sanctified. However, such a step would be unusual.
According to Rodeia, 350 clinically ill people are expected to attend the Mass of Saints; an encounter of the pope with them is expressly provided for. Francis then wants to have lunch with the bishops of the country. In the afternoon he leaves Monte Real for Rome.