Pope Francis on Saturday (May 13th) formally announced two young shepherds as saints who encountered an apparition of the Virgin Mary nearly a century ago.
Thousands of Catholic faithful from throughout the world, many of them slept outdoors to hold their places, cheered with joy as the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics sanctified siblings Jacinta and Francisco Marto.
In the homely of around 4, 00,000 outdoor ‘Holy Mass’ Francis made a prayer that Madonna would shield the most weaker members of society, “Especially the sick and the disabled, prisoners and the unemployed, the poor and the abandoned”
The Argentine pontiff said in front of the while basilica where both the siblings are buried, “We declare the blissful Francisco Marto and Jacinta Marto saints.”
“We register them on the list of saints, declaring that they must be venerated as such by the Church.”
“It’s a once in a lifetime event for us. It’s our first time witness a canonization rites and we are really devotees of the Lady of Fatima,” said Regina Canos, who came along husband Mark and their children all the way from Singapore.
Mark said: “I think it’s very appropriate we are witnessing two children canonized and we have two children and we are hoping that our children grow up to be like them.”
Maria Larabal, a Marian devotee hails from London, express the similar kind sentiment.
“I feel blessed. We were here last year during the 99 years of the apparition of Fatima,” she said.
The canonization happened on the 100th anniversary of the day when Francisco, then nine years old, his sister Jancita, seven, along with their cousin Lucia, ten, first reportedly saw the apparition of the Virgin Mary.