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Pope prays the rosary at the shrine of Fatima

On Saturday morning, August 5, the Pope visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, erected on the site where Our Lady appeared to some shepherd children in 1917. In the Chapel of Apparitions, the Pope prayed the rosary accompanied by pilgrims and sick young people.

Loreto Rios-August 5, 2023-Reading time: 4 minutes

Pope Francis prays this morning before the image of Our Lady of Fatima ©CNS photo/Lola Gomez

Today, August 5, after celebrating Mass in private, the Pope traveled by car to the Figo Maduro Air Base in Lisbon, where, at 8 o'clock (Lisbon time) he was taken by military helicopter to Fatima.

The Pope was welcomed at the heliport by the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima and President of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference, Monsignor José Ornelas Carvalho. The Pope then drove to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima.

There, he gave some bouquets of roses and a golden rosary to Our Lady and prayed in silence for a few moments before the image of Our Lady of Fatima. Afterwards, a multilingual rosary, with each mystery in a different language, was prayed with sick young people in the Chapel of Apparitions.

Pilgrimage is a Marian trait

At the conclusion of the recitation of the rosary, the Pope, after praying again in silence before the image of Our Lady of Fatima, gave a speech in Spanish, in which he pointed out that the rosary is "a most beautiful and vital prayer, vital because it puts us in contact with the life of Jesus and Mary. And we meditated on the joyful mysteries, which remind us that the Church can only be a home full of joy. The small chapel in which we found ourselves is a beautiful image of the Church: welcoming and without doors, an open-air sanctuary in the heart of this square that evokes a great maternal embrace.

He also pointed out that "pilgrimage is the Marian trait that unites the mysteries we have prayed. In fact, Mary receives the proclamation of joy, that 'Rejoice' (Lk 1:28) that changes her life; and she immediately begins a pilgrimage, which unfolds in the following mysteries: she goes to Elizabeth, then to Bethlehem, then to the temple in Jerusalem, to which she finally returns to meet Jesus. Mary walks, she does not stop. She does so also in history, when she comes down to meet us, as in Fatima, and invites us to go on pilgrimage, not only with our bodies, but above all with our lives.

As he did yesterday, the Pope did not conclude his speech and, putting aside his papers, he improvised a few words, stressing that the Virgin "rushes", "goes running" where it is needed.

Apparitions of the Angel

In the full speech, the Pope indicated that Fatima is "a school of intercession" and commented on some of the phrases of the angel who appeared to the children before Our Lady did: "The little ones of Fatima became great in intercession thanks to an angel who, a year before Our Lady's coming, instructed them. He appeared to them and said: 'Do not be afraid'. Always, when God comes, fears vanish.' Then the angel introduced himself: 'I am the angel of peace. Always, where God is, there is peace. Then he made a request: 'Pray with me'. And he taught them a prayer, which was not oriented to ask for themselves and for their own needs, as we often do, but of adoration and intercession. Worship of God and intercession for others.

Then the angel knelt down, bowed his forehead to the ground and invited them to pray saying: 'My God, I believe, I worship, I hope and I love you. I ask your forgiveness for those who do not believe, do not worship, do not hope and do not love you'. And then he added: 'The Hearts of Jesus and Mary are attentive to the voice of your supplications'. This is the certainty: God always listens to our prayers; they are never useless, but always necessary, because prayer changes history.

In fact, the angel of peace explained that prayers and sacrifices made with love bring peace to the world. Finally, his last words to the children, as if assigning them a task, were: 'Comfort your God. Not only do we need God's consolation, but He asks us to console Him, because He suffers; He suffers from evil, from divisions, from the lack of peace, and He asks for prayer and love".

Our Lady's apparitions

Underlining once again the importance of intercession, the Pope also commented on one of Our Lady's apparitions at Fatima: "In 1917, when Our Lady appeared, in this same month of August, she said something surprising. Some sick people were presented to her, she took an interest in them, but immediately took on a serious, sad expression, as if pointing to a more worrisome illness. She said to them: 'Pray, pray much; and make sacrifices for sinners, because many souls go to hell because they have no one to sacrifice and intercede for them'.

We, on the other hand, perhaps we would have expected her to say: there are those who condemn themselves because they are bad, because the world is going badly, because there is little faith, because there is atheism, relativism. But no, Our Lady did not speak of this; she is a Mother and does not point the finger at anyone or at society; she does not criticize or complain, but shows her concern because there is a lack of compassion for those who are far away, because there is no one to pray and offer, because there is little love and zeal".

He concluded his speech with a call to accept this "invitation to responsibility, to take care of those who do not believe, do not hope, do not love. And God will take care of us. Let us pray, because Fatima is a school of prayer. Now, as at the time of the apparitions, there is also war. Our Lady asked us to pray the Rosary for peace. She did not ask it as a favor, but with maternal solicitude, she said: 'Pray the Rosary every day for the peace of the world and the end of war. Let us therefore unite our hearts, let us pray for peace, let us consecrate the Church and the world anew to the Immaculate Heart of our most sweet Mother".

Pope's second visit to the shrine

At the end of the event, which was attended by more than 200,000 people, the Holy Father gave the final blessing and greeted some of the young people present.

Back in Lisbon, the Pontiff will go to the Colégio de São João de Brito, at 6:00 p.m. (Lisbon time), where he will have a private meeting with members of the Society of Jesus of Portugal. In the evening, the vigil will be held in Tejo Park, one of the most important events of the WYDW.

This was the Pope's second visit to the shrine of Fatima, where he was already on May 12 and 13, 2017, the 100th anniversary of Our Lady's apparitions.

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