VISIONARIES Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the three Fatima children who witnessed Marian apparitions 100 years ago, will be canonised on May 13.
Pope Francis will canonise the two saintly siblings during his visit to Fatima for the 100th anniversary celebrations, making them the youngest non-martyrs to be declared saints in the Church’s history.
Brisbane Catholics who are preparing to celebrate in their parishes the 100th anniversary since Our Lady appeared to the children are rejoicing in the news that two of the visionaries will be named saints.
Legion of Mary president in the Sandgate parish Pat Madden, who is helping to organise several Rosary events in her community for the Fatima centenary, said the upcoming canonisation of Francisco and Jacinta was “an absolute blessing” for the church.
Mrs Madden said the young children were an example of courage in the midst of a persecuted and scrutinised Church.
“The faith and courage they showed to deliver Mary’s word to the world is an example of obedience,” Mrs Madden said.
“That in itself, for children to give up their lives to do what Mary asked them to do, shows great devotion and courage.
“Courage is something we all need.”
To celebrate the canonisation of Francisco and Jacinta, Mrs Madden is hoping to organise a children’s Rosary group at the local schools.
The Rosary group will allow children from Sandgate’s two primary schools to write their prayer intentions and pray the Rosary in the same way Our Lady taught the children at Fatima.
Mrs Madden said children were special in the eyes of Mary.
“Our Lady picks children so that the world will understand that her message is coming from her,” Mrs Madden said.
Both Francisco and Jacinta contracted the deadly influenza in 1918 leading to their deaths, which were foretold by Our Lady in her visits to the children.
Our Lady told Francisco he would go to heaven only if he prayed the Rosary daily.
He died on April 14, 1919, aged 10, and according to witnesses had “a glow on his face”.
The Blessed Virgin tay told Jacinta that she would die of an illness that would not be cured, saying she would suffer greatly for Our Lord.
She died of tuberculosis in 1920 aged nine.
Pope John Paul II declared the children “Blessed” in May 13, 2000 in Fatima, and their cousin Lucia, who remained the only living visionary, witnessed their beatification.
Pope Francis’ visit to Fatima will include a pilgrimage to the site where Mary appeared to the three shepherd children six times.
Sandgate parish will pray the Angelus and the Rosary every 13th of the month between February and October at the Einbunpin lagoon, chosen to encourage questions and participation from locals, a movie screening of “The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima”, and a Mass to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Fatima on October 13.
Our Lady of Victories parish at Bowen Hills is also hosting an Eucharistic procession around the church on May 13.
The celebration will begin with adoration from 4pm, Mass at 7.15pm followed by the procession, concluding with all-night adoration until Sunday 8am Mass.