Pope Francis has arrived in Fatima. The Holy Father is making an Apostolic Visit, or rather Apostolic Pilgrimage, to Fatima, May 12-13. This marks Francis’ 19th Apostolic Visit and 28th country visited.
It also marks the Holy Father’s first visit to Portugal. He clarified that one need not count the time he switched flights in the airport, but did not step outside.
During the two-day visit, the Pope is giving four discourses, all in Portuguese.
This trip marks 50 years from when Pope Paul 6th went to Fatima. Francis’ recent predecessors have gone including Benedict XVI in 2010 and John Paul II, who had visited Fatima three times, in 1982, 1991, and 2000.
When there was the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981, the Polish Pontiff accredited his living through the tragic event to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima.
At about 4:30 p.m. local time in Portugal, Pope Francis’s plane landed at Monte Real Air Base, where a welcome ceremony was held.
Shortly thereafter, the Holy Father had a brief private visit with the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Right after, Francis went to the chapel at Monte Real air base, where he prayed with sick children and their families.
Afterward, he transfered by helicopter to the stadium of Fatima and is transferring by open vehicle to the Shrine. Later this evening, Pope Francis will visit the Chapel of the Apparitions and say a prayer. The last event today will be at 9:30 p.m. local time when he will bless the candles of the Chapel of the Apparitions, offer greetings and recite the rosary.