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Will Beatify Two of the Visionaries on May 13 and Meet Sister Lucia
John Paul II will visit Portugal from May 12-13 to beatify two of the Fatima visionaries. While two of the little shepherds, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, died young, the third, Lucia, still lives in a convent. The papal trip was confirmed by the Vatican today, with the publication of the official program.
The Pontiff will arrive in Portugal on May 12 at 6 p.m. and will have a private meeting with the President of the country at the Portela Airport. He will then travel to Fatima by helicopter, where he will land in the municipal stadium at 7:45 p.m. and go in the "popemobile" directly to the Chapel of the Apparitions, where he will spend some time in prayer. The Pope will spend the night in one of the Shrine's retreat houses; he is not expected to take part in the torchlight procession that night.
On May 13 John Paul II will return early in the morning to the Chapel of the Apparitions and the Basilica for additional time in prayer. At this point, he will meet Sister Lucia, who is a contemplative nun in Coimbra. The little shepherds' beatification will take place in the plaza of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Cova da Iria. The Pope will return to Rome that afternoon, after the farewell ceremonies.
According to the Vatican agency "Fides," when presenting the papal program for Fatima, Bishop Serafim Ferreira said that hundreds of thousands of pilgrims will go to Fatima that weekend.
The Fatima Crusader has organized a pilgrimage to Fatima for the May 13 beatification (May 9 through 15). For details, call 1-905- 871-7607 (ask for Valerie).