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Pope John Paul II
on May 13, 2000 at Fatima

Over 600,000 Faithful gathered in the square and surrounding areas of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Portugal, for the solemn Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II for the beatification of the Servants of God, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two shepherd children who witnessed extraordinary appearances of the Blessed Mother in 1917.

After the Pope proclaimed them blessed, he announced that their feast day would be February 20.

Here is a translation of a few extracts of the Pope's sermon. His theme is that Our Lady of Fatima's appearances fulfill predictions of the Holy Spirit written 1900 years ago in Sacred Scripture. He is indicating to us that we, today, are at one of the most dramatic moments ever of all human history.

"According to the divine plan, 'a Woman clothed with the sun' (Apoc. 12:1) came down from heaven to this earth to visit the privileged children of the Father. She speaks to them with a mother's voice and heart: She asks them to offer themselves as victims of reparation, saying that She was ready to lead them safely to God"...

"Another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon" (Apoc. 12:3)...

"These words from the first reading of the Mass make us think of the great struggle between good and evil, showing how, when man puts God aside, he cannot achieve happiness, but ends up destroying himself...

"The Message of Fatima is a call to conversion, alerting humanity to have nothing to do with the 'dragon' whose "tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth' (Apoc. 12:4). Man's final goal is Heaven, his true home, where the heavenly Father awaits everyone with His merciful love.

"In Her Motherly concern, the Blessed Virgin came here to Fatima to ask men and women 'to stop offending God, Our Lord, Who is already very offended'. It is a Mother's sorrow that compels Her to speak; the destiny of Her children is at stake. For this reason She asks the little shepherds: 'Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners; many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them."'

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