Two child visionaries could become saints on Fatima anniversary next month
FATIMA, Portugal, April 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The upcoming 100th anniversary of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Fatima appearances would not be complete without the canonization of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto, Fatima’s bishop has said.
Pope Francis is expected to canonize the beatified siblings when he travels to Fatima on May 12-13 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Marian apparitions. They are two of the three children who witnessed the 1917 apparitions in Portugal.
Bishop Antonio dos Santos Marto of Leiria-Fatima recently told the media that the canonization is in the hands of the Holy Father.
“I would consider the centenary to be incomplete without the canonization,” he said. “I have had this hope. We are in time for it to be May 13, but everything depends on the exclusive competency of the Pope.”
The bishop also discussed the March 23 announcement that the pope approved the decree accepting a second miracle ascribed to the intercession of both siblings. The approved miracle paved the way for their canonization.
Bishop dos Santos Marto related how he welcomed with “enormous satisfaction the news of the approval of the miracle” attributed to Blessed Francisco and Jacinta. The news of their impending canonization was not a surprise, he said, because he had “confident hope.”
Sister Angela Coelho, the postulator for the cause of their canonization, said the theological approval of the miracle went quickly after its medical evaluation.
The miracle credited to the intercession of the blessed siblings concerns the cure of a child in Brazil. Studies of the healing began in 2013, but she said declined to give more details to preserve the child's identity.
“The little shepherds, who died at the age of 10, will be the youngest saints in the history of the Church, with the exception of child martyrs,” Sister Coelho said.
The bishop indicated that additional information on canonization would not be available until an April 20 consistory.
Pope Saint John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta on May 13, 2000, on the 83rd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, who first appeared 100 years ago next month to the two children and cousin Lucia Santo.
Francisco and Jacinta passed away not long after the apparitions, in 1919 and 1920, respectively. Lucia went on to become a Carmelite nun. She died in 2005.
Sister Coelho, who is also vice postulator of the cause for the beatification of Sister Lucia, said at the press conference with the bishop that an announcement on the beatification process for Sister Lucia was likely not imminent.
“That's a separate cause,” the sister explained.
The first major step in Sister Lucia’s canonization process was completed February 13 on the 11th anniversary of Sister Lucia’s death. Her cause was opened in 2008.
The Fatima apparitions and in particular Sister Lucia’s role bear vast significance to humanity and salvation history.
Our Lady gave the three children the vision of hell and the rise of Communist Russia, which were published with Sister Lucia’s memoirs in the 1940s.
Speculation over the specific content of the remaining third part of the prophetic secret revealed by the Blessed Mother continues, along with disagreement over whether it has been made public in full. It’s said that the secret pertains to the rampant decline of faith and confusion that have gripped the Catholic Church over the last several decades.
The Blessed Mother had told Lucia that “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.”