Pope Francis is expected to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima (Portugal) in 2017 on the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
According to a press release by the diocese, confirmed that news of the visit was given directly to the bishop by the Holy Father during a private audience at the Vatican on Saturday.
“Pope Francis confirmed to Bishop Antonio Marto that, ‘if God gives him life and health’, he wants to be in Cova di Iria to celebrate the centenary of the Apparitions of Fatima,” the diocese stated.
The communique also stated that after having received various invitations to Fatima, this is the first time that the Pope has confirmed his desire to go, as well as authorizing the diocese to make his intention to visit public.
On May 13th, 1917, three shepherd children: Lucia dos Santos, Jacinta Marto and Francisco Marto were visited by the Blessed Virgin Mary. After several months, almost 30,000 people witnessed “The Miracle of the Sun”, a phenomenon in which the sun spun and changed colors. The sign was promised by the Virgin Mary so that the faithful would believe.
St. John Paul II credited the Blessed Mother with saving his life from an assassin’s bullet on May 13th, 1981. He later placed the bullet in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.