VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis plans to take part in a mid-October Marian celebration that will commemorate the final apparition of Our Lady of Fatima and the 51st anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization organized a Marian weekend for Oct. 12-13, upon the request of then-Pope Benedict XVI.
This event will mark the 51st anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, as well as the date of the last apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal.
On Oct. 13, 1917, at Cova da Iria, Mary appeared for the sixth time to three shepherd children: Lucia Santos and her cousins, Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto. During the apparition, the sun changed color, size and position for about 10 minutes, and it has since been known as the “Miracle of the Sun.”
The theme of the Vatican gathering will be “Blessed are you for believing!” and will include the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which will be brought to St. Peter’s Square and exposed for veneration.
There will be a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter at 8am on Oct. 12, with Eucharistic adoration and confession at 9am in nearby churches.
Pope Francis will welcome the statue at 5pm in St. Peter’s Square, where he will then give a catechesis on Mary.
At 7pm, the statue will be taken to the Sanctuary of Divine Love, where people will pray the Rosary simultaneously in Marian shrines across the world. The day will end with a prayer vigil.
On Oct. 13, the statue will be taken back to St. Peter’s Square at 10am, where faithful will pray the Rosary, followed by Mass at 10:30am, celebrated by Pope Francis.