“With the little shepherds, let us now begin, and always persist”
The 13th of May this year was lived with great emotion by a great multitude who gathered in Fatima to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady.
Besides the celebration of the 99 years of the apparitions, this was also the occasion to celebrate the 16 years since the beatification of the Little Shepherds: Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
“By divine design, she came from Heaven to this earth, in search for the little privileged of the Father, «a Woman clothed with the sun» (Rev 12, 1). She talks to them with a voice and heart of a mother: she invites them to offer themselves as victims of reparation, and she offers Herself to lead them, secure, up to God. It was then that in her maternal hands came a light that intimately penetrated them, feeling immersed in God like when a person – they explained – contemplates him/herself in a mirror”, refers St. John Paul II in the homily of Beatification, on the 13th of May 2000.
On that occasion, the Holy Father referred that “with this this rite the Church wishes to put on the candelabrum these two candles which God lit to illumine humanity in its dark and anxious hours. May they shine on the path of this immense multitude of pilgrims and of all who have accompanied us by radio and television. May Francisco and Jacinta be a friendly light that illumines Portugal and, in a special way, this Diocese of Leiria-Fatima.”
In the year 2000 as now in 2016, the presidents of the celebration talked about the need of conversion mentioned by Our Lady to the little shepherds, when she asked them to pray for the conversion of sinners.
Mary taught the little shepherds to pray:” it’s been a century, it was only Her, teaching three children to pray that way. Today, we are many and learning also. But it’s like children that we enter in a Kingdom from earth to heaven. With the little shepherds, let us now begin, and always persist”, said the most reverend António Marto, bishop of the Diocese of Leiria-Fatima.