Watch the the pope’s video-message ahead of his historic pilgrimage to Fatima
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has sent a video-message to the people of Portugal ahead of his historic visit to Fatima, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s apparitions to three shepherd children at Cova da Iria.
“Only a few days remain before our pilgrimage, mine and yours, to the feet of Our Lady of Fatima,” the pope told the people of Portugal by video-message. “These are days of joy in expectation of our encounter in the home of Mary our Mother.”
“It is as the universal pastor of the Church that I would like to come before the Madonna and to offer her a bouquet of the most beautiful ‘blossoms’ that Jesus has entrusted to my care (cf. Jn 21:15-17),” he said. “By this I mean all of our brothers and sisters throughout the world who have been redeemed by Christ’s blood, none excluded.”
“That is why I need to have all of you join me there,” the pope explained. “I need to feel your closeness, whether physical or spiritual; the important thing is that it come from the heart. In this way, I can arrange my bouquet of flowers, my ‘golden rose’.”
“I want to meet everyone at the feet of the Virgin Mother,” he said.
Then, repeating the Virgin’s message to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta during her apparition on June 13, 1917, the pope told them: “I will then entrust you to Our Lady, asking her to whisper to each one of you: ‘My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the path that leads you to God.’”
The motto of the pope’s May 12-13 pilgrimage to Fatima is: “With Mary, a pilgrim in hope and in peace.”
He thanked the people of Portugal for their “intense prayers” in preparation for this historic visit.
“Prayer enlarges our hearts and makes them ready to receive God’s gifts,” he told them. “I thank you for all the prayers and sacrifices that you offer daily for me. I need them, because I am a sinner among sinners, ‘a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips’ (Is 6:5). Prayer gives light to my eyes and enables me to see others as God sees them, and to love others as he loves them.”
Pope Francis concluded his message, saying: “In his name, I will come among you and have the joy of sharing with everyone the Gospel of hope and peace. May the Lord bless you, and the Virgin Mother protect you!”