Lucia Santos, left, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto [Wikipedia]
On Saturday 13 May Pope Francis will canonise Blessed Francisco Marto (1908 – 1919) and his sister Jacinta (1910 – 1920) in Fátima, Portugal, on the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of the Blessed Mother there to the three children.
A good friend of mine who is a priest and a Scripture scholar once pointed out to me that in all the places where the Church has affirmed that our Blessed Mother truly appeared it was to poor people. We can see this in such places as Guadalupe (1531) in Mexico, La Salette (1846) and Lourdes (1858) in France, Beauraing (1932-33) and Banneux (1933) in Belgium, Fátima (1917) in Portugal and Knock (1879) in Ireland. I have been blessed by having taken part in pilgrimages to all of these except La Salette and Guadalupe.
You may find this article of interest: The surprising connection between Our Lady of Fatima and Islam.
Ave de Fátima
Sung in Portuguese by the Choir of the Shrine in Fátima
Beatification in Dublin of Blessed John Sullivan SJ
[Facebook. Portrait by Seán O’Sullivan]
Also on 13 May, for the first time in history, a beatification will take place in Ireland, that of Fr John Sullivan SJ (1861 – 1933), by Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The ceremony will be held in St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner Street, Dublin, a church that is closely associated also with the Venerable Matt Talbot (1856 – 1925). These two men grew up within walking distance of each other, but in totally different circumstances, John Sullivan in prosperity and Matt Talbot in poverty. God called both of them to sanctity, as indeed he calls each of us through our baptism. They responded to this call.
St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner St, Dublin [Wikipedia]
For some reason, Dubliners rarely refer to their churches by their patronal name but rather by the street name. Had this ceremony been held in Dublin 50 or 60 years ago it would not have taken place in this or in any other church but in an open, public space. It will be interesting to see how the Irish media will cover the event.
Please pray this weekend for a renewal of the Catholic Christian faith in Ireland where to a large extent in recent decades it has been rejected or marginalized as a purely private matter, and despised by some.