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Pope John Paul to Beatify
Jacinta and Francisco Marto
at Fatima on May 13, 2000

Special to The Fatima Crusader

A November 26 Associated Press report stated that Pope John Paul II is to visit Portugal’s Fatima shrine on May 13 to beatify Jacinta and Francisco Marto, two of the three children who witnessed apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917.

The visit to Fatima will be one of the few foreign tours undertaken by the ailing Pope next year, Portugal’s Roman Catholic radio station Renascenca reported, quoting unnamed sources in the Vatican.

Bishop Serafim da Silva, Bishop of Fatima told reporters, “the Pope will come as a pilgrim to the Fatima shrine.”

He said the Pope would arrive at the Monte Real Air Force base near Fatima on May 12 and leave from there the following day, though he said the Vatican had not ruled out extending his stay to include a visit to Lisbon.

The Vatican has not yet sent a formal announcement of the Pope’s visit to the Portuguese authorities, though it was expected to do so before the end of December, Ferreira da Silva said.

The beatification was initially scheduled for April at the Vatican, but Portugal’s Roman Catholic community was keen to persuade the Pope to hold the ceremony at Fatima.

Portuguese bishops traveled to Rome on November 25 to press the Pope to visit the shrine, which is in a rural area 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Lisbon.

The 79-year-old Pope has visited this small southwest European country twice during his 22-year papacy.

The Fatima Center will provide continual updates on this upcoming beatification.

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