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Pope to visit Fatima next year?

September 24, 2009

Government officials in Portugal report that Pope Benedict XVI plans to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima next year. The report indicates that the Pope will make the trip in May, to preside at celebrations for the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13. The Vatican-- which ordinarily does not confirm a papal trip until a few weeks before it takes place-- has not commented on the reports.

Pope John Paul II traveled to Fatima on three occasions during his pontificate, making his final trip in 2000 to preside at the beatification of Blessed Jacinta and Franscisco Marto, two of the three children to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared there. (The third Fatima seer, Sister Lucia Santos, died in 2005; a cause for her beatification was opened in 2008, after Pope Benedict waived the rule requiring a 5-year waiting period.) Pope John Paul had a special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, crediting her with saving his life when he was shot in St. Peter's Square on her feast day: May 13, 1981.

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