Papal Trip to Portugal Has Marian Touch

Spokesman Gives Details of Next Week’s Visit

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By Carmen Elena Villa
VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2010 ( Benedict XVI’s trip to Portugal this May 11-14 will have a Marian emphasis, says the director of the Vatican press office.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi presented today the program of the Pope’s 15th apostolic visit outside Italy.
The Holy Father will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the beatification of the little shepherds Jacinta and Francisco Marto who, together with their cousin Lucia dos Santos, who died in 2005, were the witnesses of Our Lady’s apparitions in 1917.
For Father Lombardi, Fatima is «a Marian shrine in which events occurred with which Benedict XVI has been personally concerned in a very profound way, also from the point of view of theology and spirituality.» As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he wrote a document on the event, published in 2000.
«And, of course, Fatima is a place where one extends one’s gaze for a meditation on history,» said Father Lombardi.
The Holy See spokesman referred also to the emphasis this trip will give to the world of the clergy in the celebration of vespers with priests, religious, seminarians and deacons in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity of Fatima, and the meeting with bishops in Lisbon.

«We will be just one month before the conclusion of the Year for Priests and the context is very appropriate,» he explained.
Benedict XVI will arrive at the Marian shrine on the afternoon of May 12. While there, he will recall the attack John Paul II suffered on May 13, 1981.
The motto of this trip is «Together With You We Will Walk in Hope.»
Father Lombardi reflected on the motto: «The choice on the part of bishops together with the Pope is let us give hope and also walk in hope for all the Portuguese people.»

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