VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2000 (ZENIT.org).- Rome is preparing to receive the
statue of the Virgin of Fatima, being brought from Portugal for the Jubilee
of Bishops this weekend.
On Sunday, John Paul II will solemnly entrust the Church and third
millennium to the Virgin Mary.
The statue will be in Rome for three days, returning to Portugal next
Monday morning, after receiving the homage of the Holy Father and Jubilee
The statue will arrive at Ciampino airport and be privately transported to
the Vatican. It will be taken first to John Paul II´s apartments, where he
will pray before Our Lady´s image.
On Saturday morning, the statue will be taken in procession to St. Peter´s
Basilica, where pilgrims will be able to venerate it.
In the afternoon, the faithful will pray the rosary with the Holy Father
before the image.
A procession, beginning at 5:45 p.m., will accompany the statue from the
basilica into St. Peter´s Square, where the Pope will lead the meditations
on the mysteries of the rosary. Cardinals, bishops and five families from
different continents will play an active part during the ceremony.
Sister Lucia and the Carmelite religious of the Convent in Coimbra,
Portugal, will pray the fifth mystery. Sister Lucia is the only surviving
visionary of the three children to whom Our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1917.
This will be the first time the Pope presides over the World Rosary, an
initiative that began in Mexico in 1996 and spread to 100 countries.
In Mexico City, the rosary will be presided over by Cardinal Norberto
Rivera Carrera in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Pope´s praying
of the rosary in Rome will be televised.
At the end of the ceremony, the statue will cross St. Peter´s Square and be
accompanied in procession to the “Mater Ecclesia” convent of cloistered
nuns in the Vatican. Nuns who reside in Vatican City will take part in this
On Sunday, at 10 a.m., the Pope will preside over a concelebrated Mass
during which he will read the consecration to Mary before the image of Our
Lady of Fatima. All the bishops present will pronounce the act of
consecration together with the Pope.
The Vatican has not yet published the text of the act of consecration.
On Monday morning, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, will
preside over a farewell ceremony for the Virgin of Fatima in the St.
Damasus patio in the Vatican. The statue will leave from Fiumicino airport
for the return trip to Portugal.
On May 13 of this year, John Paul II visited Fatima to beatify the two
little shepherds, Jacinta and Francisco Marto. At that time Cardinal Sodano
was instructed by the Pope to reveal details of the so-called third secret
of Fatima (see ZENIT, May 14, 2000).
Later, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith presented Sister
Lucia´s manuscript with the revelations, together with a theological
commentary (see ZENIT documents, June 26: