The consistory to approve the canonisation of Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto will take place on April 20
The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will preside over a consistory to approve canonisation of the Fatima visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
Once the approval of the cardinals is given at the consistory, scheduled to take place on April 20 at 10am, a date for the canonisation of the Blesseds will be set.
Last month, Pope Francis approved the recognition of the miracle attributed to the intercession of the two 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 Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta during a meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes.
Many people are hoping Pope Francis will preside over the canonisation ceremony during his visit to Fatima on May 12-13.
The pilgrimage will mark the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which began on May 13, 1917, when nine-year-old Francisco and seven-year-old Jacinta, along with their cousin Lucia dos Santos, reported seeing the Virgin Mary. The apparitions continued once a month until October 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.
A year after the apparitions, both of the Marto children became ill during an influenza epidemic that plagued Europe. Francisco died on April 4, 1919, at the age of 10, while Jacinta succumbed to her illness on February 20, 1920, at the age of nine.
Francisco and Jacinta’s Cause was stalled for decades due to a debate on whether non-martyred children have the capacity to understand heroic virtues at a young age. However, in 1979, St John Paul II allowed their Cause to proceed; he declared them venerable in 1989 and beatified them in 2000.
Their cousin Lucia entered the Institute of the Sisters of St Dorothy and, later, obtained permission to enter the Carmelite convent of St Teresa in Coimbra, where she resided until her death in 2005 at the age of 97.
Following her death, Pope Benedict XVI waived the five-year waiting period before her Cause could open. Bishop Virgilio Antunes of Coimbra formally closed the local phase of investigation into her life and holiness last month and forwarded the information to the Vatican.