At an outdoor Mass in Fatima, Portugal, attended by an estimated 500,000 people, Pope Francis canonized Francisco Marto (1908-19) and Jacinta Marto (1910-20), two of the children to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared a century earlier.
“We have a Mother!” the Pope preached. “‘So beautiful a Lady,’ as the seers of Fatima said to one another as they returned home on that blessed day of 13 May a hundred years ago. That evening, Jacinta could not restrain herself and told the secret to her mother.
“Our Lady foretold, and warned us about, a way of life that is godless and indeed profanes God in his creatures,” the Pope continued. “Such a life —frequently proposed and imposed —risks leading to hell.”
Reflecting on Mary’s motherhood and “God’s light as it radiated from Our Lady,” the Pope said:
Dear pilgrims, we have a Mother, we have a Mother! Clinging to her like children, we live in the hope that rests on Jesus … Confirmed in this hope, we have gathered here to give thanks for the countless graces bestowed over these past hundred years.
All of them passed beneath the mantle of light that Our Lady has spread over the four corners of the earth, beginning with this land of Portugal, so rich in hope. We can take as our examples Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta, whom the Virgin Mary introduced into the immense ocean of God’s light and taught to adore him. That was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering. God’s presence became constant in their lives, as is evident from their insistent prayers for sinners and their desire to remain ever near “the hidden Jesus” in the tabernacle.
“With Mary’s protection, may we be for our world sentinels of the dawn, contemplating the true face of Jesus the Savior, resplendent at Easter,” the Pope concluded. “Thus may we rediscover the young and beautiful face of the Church, which shines forth when she is missionary, welcoming, free, faithful, poor in means and rich in love.”
After the Mass, the Pope encouraged the sick to offer up their sufferings.
“Do not think of yourselves simply as the recipients of charitable solidarity, but feel that you share fully in the Church’s life and mission,” he said. “Your silent presence, which is more eloquent than a flood of words, your prayers, the daily offering of your sufferings in union with those of Jesus crucified for the salvation of the world, the patient and even joyful acceptance of your condition—all these are a spiritual resource, an asset to every Christian community.”