VATICAN CITY- In May, Pope Francis will visit Fatima, Portugal for two days to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions there, according to a Vatican release of his trip itinerary.
After visiting Saint Mary Major Basilica before his flight at 2 p.m. May 12, His holiness will then land in Monte Real at an air base at 4:20 p.m. local time. He will be greeted by an official welcoming ceremony and briefly meet with the Portugese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
Pope Francis will then head to the chapel at the air base to pray before leaving by helicopter for Fatima’s large stadium. Once there, he will board an open vehicle and visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, arriving at approximately 5:30 p.m. local time.
He will then recite a formal prayer inside the chapel of the apparitions, bless the candles in the sanctuary and offer a greeting to pilgrims before leading them in the prayers of the rosary.
May 13, the anniversary of the apparitions, Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal will meet with His holiness at the city’s Casa N.S. do Carmo hotel-convent.
He will then arrive at Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, located next to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, to say mass. After the outdoor mass, the Holy Father will greet those pilgrims who are sick or disabled.
The Pope will then return to the Casa N.S do Carmo for lunch with the Bishops of Portugal and then leave from the Monte Real air base after a farewell ceremony, leaving at 3 p.m. local time and arriving in Rome’s Ciampino airport at 7 p.m. local time, stopping at Saint Mary Major Basilica to pray on his way back.
His visit will be to commemorate the events of May 13, 1917, when three local shepherd children — 9 and 7 year old siblings named Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and their 10 year old cousin, Lucia Dos Santos– saw a woman dressed in white, holding a rosary while putting their sheep out to graze.
The same vision appeared to the children every month after that on the 13th day of the month from May until October, bringing with her a message that called the community to prayer and repentance. The Catholic Church examined the apparitions and proclaimed them worthy of belief in 1930.
Previous popes, in particular John Paul II, are known for their profound devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.