Pope Francis has approved the recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of two of the shepherd children who saw Our Lady of Fatima in 1917, thus paving the way for their canonisation.
Pope Francis signed the decree for the causes of Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto during a meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, on 23rd March, the Vatican said.
The recognition of the miracle makes it likely that the canonisation ceremony for the two children will be scheduled soon. The cardinals and bishops who are members of the congregation must vote to recommend their canonisation and then the pope would convene the cardinals resident in Rome for a consistory to approve the sainthood.
Many people are hoping Pope Francis will preside over the canonisation ceremony during his visit to Fatima from 12th to 13th May.
The pilgrimage will mark the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which began on 13th May 1917, when 9-year-old Francisco and 7-year-old Jacinta, along with their cousin Lucia dos Santos, reported seeing the Virgin Mary. The apparitions continued once a month until 13th October 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.
Picture: Jacinta and Francisco Marto are pictured with their cousin Lucia dos Santos (right) in a file photo taken around the time of the 1917 apparitions of Mary at Fatima, Portugal. Pope Francis has approved the recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of two of the shepherd children, thus paving the way for their canonisation. (CNS file photo).