VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Oct. 13 as part of the Marian Day celebration that will involve the iconic statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
“The Holy Father strongly desires that the Marian Day may have present, as a special sign, one of the most significant Marian icons for Christians throughout the world, and, for that reason, we thought of the beloved original statue of Our Lady of Fatima,” wrote Cardinal Rino Fisichella.
Cardinal Fisichella, who serves as president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, made his remarks in a letter to Bishop Antonio Marto of Leiria-Fatima.
According to the Portuguese shrine’s website, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima will leave for Rome on the morning of Oct. 12 and return on the afternoon of Oct. 13. The statue normally resides in the shrine’s Little Chapel of Apparitions.
The cardinal said that “all ecclesial entities of Marian spirituality” are invited to take part in the celebration. Hundreds of movements and institutions that emphasize Marian devotion are expected to attend, the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima says.
The two-day observance includes an Oct. 12 pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter and moments of prayer and meditation. On Oct. 13, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
Our Lady of Fatima appeared to three shepherd children in the village of Fatima in Portugal in 1917. She warned of violent trials in the 20th century if the world did not make reparation for sins. She urged prayer and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
At the request of Pope Francis, Cardinal Jose Polycarp, the patriarch of Lisbon, consecrated the Pope’s pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, her feast day.