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Francisco and Jacinta to be Beatified!
VATICAN CITY, APR. 16. Jacinta and Francisco Marto, the two Portuguese shepherds who, together with Lucia, received revelations in Fatima, will soon be declared blessed by the Church. The last steps are being taken for their beatification, with the approval of a miracle attributed to their intercession. They will become the youngest blessed of the Church -- one 10 and the other 9 years old -- a "title" which, until now, belonged to Domenico Savio, who died just before his 15th birthday.
The two shepherds, brother and sister, and the third visionary, Lucia, slightly older, said they saw the Virgin for the first time on May 13, 1917. The series of apparitions, which attracted multitudes of believers, concluded with the inexplicable phenomenon of the dancing sun on October 13, which was seen by thousands of those present, both believers and atheists alike. A chronicle of the event appeared in local newspapers of the time, including photos of the astounded crowd as they watched the inexplicable occurrence.
Beyond the extraordinary phenomenon, the spiritual Message of Fatima is a call to conversion whose value rests on the many moral miracles that have ensued and, especially, in the extraordinary transformation brought about in the life of the three children who witnessed the apparitions. The two children who will be beatified died a few years after the apparitions, giving proof of Christian maturity and wisdom which they received from the revelation. Lucia, the third, entered a convent to consecrate her life to prayer, far from the curiosity and fame which the apparitions caused. Today, she is over ninety years old.
In statements to RAI, the Italian radio and television, Father Paolo Molinari, the postulator of Jacinta's and Francisco's beatification cause, revealed that the Vatican has acknowledged the authenticity of a miracle attributed to the intercession of the young shepherds. Maria Emilia Santos, a Portuguese woman, was cured of paralysis after invoking the two children. The authenticity of the cure has been certified by the Vatican commission presided by professor Raffaello Cortesini. The last word is that of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which must give its approval, before the Pope publishes the decree of beatification.