FATIMA, Portugal, MARCH 25, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The 100th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Francisco Marto, one of the three visionaries of Our Lady of Fatima, will be marked this June with a congress on the spirituality of children.

The congress, titled "Francisco Marto: To Grow for the Gift," will be held June 18-20 at the Paul VI Pastoral Center of Fatima, and will conclude a year of events that have marked the blessed's birth centennial.

Cardinal José Policarpo, patriarch of Lisbon, will close the congress with an address on the challenges that children face in society.

In a letter announcing the congress this week, the event organizers said the event will be reflect "on the figure of this child, perceiving the challenges that it might pose to the living of the faith, and opening horizons for us to reflect on the role of children in the context of Christian spirituality."
In addition to speaking about Francisco Marto's personality and the message of Fatima, several subjects related to children will be addressed, such as music, literature, spirituality, catechesis, legal protection, theology and pastoral care.
The year marking the centenary of Francisco Marto's birth was set for June 10, 2008, through June 10, 2009, to coincide with the second day of the two-day national Children's Pilgrimage to Fatima. The blessed was born June 11, 1909.

Francisco and his sister Jacinta were beatified by John Paul II in Fatima, in 2000. They witnessed, along with their cousin Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917.
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