Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Canonization of Francisco and Jacinta Marto

Yesterday, Pope Francis was in Fatima, Portugal, to canonize the two Portuguese shepherd children now known as Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto in front of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims during a centennial year celebration.

Pope Francis presided over their canonization Mass during his two-day pilgrimage to Fatima to take part in celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady of Fatima.

Francisco and Jacinta, who tended to their families' sheep with their cousin Lucia Santo in the Fatima fields, first saw the apparitions of Mary, who is now known as the Our Lady of Fatima. In her message to the children, Mary brought with her requests for conversion, prayer, sacrifices on behalf of sinners, and a three-part secret. The two followed Mary's requests  and despite bribes, death threats, and threatening to lock them into cells, the two children never renounced their story to the anti-Catholic sentiment, which is rampant in Portugal in the distant past.

However, the two children are sickened by the influenza outbreak of 1918 that plagued the rest of Europe. Francisco died on the 4th of April, 1919, following his decline for hospital treatment the previous day, while the next year, Jacinta passed away on the 20th of February despite the hospital treatment in the hopes to prolong her life.

On May 13, 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified the Marto siblings on the 83rd anniversary and they were named the youngest non-martyrs to be beatified in the history of the Church.

The recent canonization of the two young non-martyrs are proof that even children like them can become saints.

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