Wednesday 23 August 2017

Pope Francis to canonise two shepherd children at Fatima shrine

Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Pope Francis has prayed at the tombs of two Portuguese shepherd children who he is going to make saints at the Catholic shrine in Fatima.

The pontiff paused and prayed silently in the basilica overlooking the shrine's vast square, where a huge crowd has gathered.

Outside, huge banners showing images of siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto are draped on the sides of the basilica.

Francis is canonising the children, who said the Virgin Mary appeared to them in visions 100 years ago, at a Mass in Fatima on Saturday morning. The pair died in 1919.

Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis prays on the grave of one of the three little sheperd at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis prays on the grave of two of the three little sheperd at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis leads a candle light vigil prayer at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima Friday, May 12 2017, in Fatima, Portugal. (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)
Pope Francis arrives for a candle light vigil prayer at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima Friday, May 12 2017, in Fatima, Portugal.(AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)
Pope Francis leads a vigil prayer and a candle blessing at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima Friday, May 12, 2017, in Fatima, Portugal. (Nuno Andre Ferreira/Pool Photo via AP)

Before the ceremony, a statue of the Virgin Mary was paraded around the square in bright sunshine as people threw petals at it.

Officials expect around one million people to attend the ceremony.

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