MANILA-- A Catholic prelate has expressed hope that young people would see as role models Francesco and Jacinta Marto, both of whom will be canonized as saints on Saturday for their devotion to the Blessed Mother in Fatima.
"St. Francesco and St. Jacinta (10 and 9 years old, respectively when they died) must be models for today's Filipino children for their devotion and for listening to and praying with the Mother of God," Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said Friday.
At the same time, he noted that children should also learn about Fatima.
"Fatima should especially be understood by children whose future is bleak if we forget God, one of the main concerns of Mary in Fatima," Arguelles added.
The statement was issued a day after the Catholic Church celebrated the centenary of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Fatima.
Asked about the significance of the Fatima apparition to Filipinos, the head of the Archdiocese of Lipa said, "Pope St. John Paul II affirmed that the Fatima apparitions are probably the most important Marian event that happened in our times. Benedict XVI said not all of what the Virgin Mother said in Fatima have been realized. Does he mean more disasters? Or does he mean we do not heed Her plea enough. That must be reflected (upon) these days. Fatima means a lot for the Philippines and the entire world. Filipinos in particular are great Marian adherents. We are PUEBLO AMANTE DE MARIA."
Meanwhile, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle will lead Manila's Catholic faithful in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Fatima in Portugal on May 13.
He will preside over a 6 p.m. Mass at the Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Pasay City, which is also celebrating its Silver Jubilee.
During the liturgical celebration, the cardinal will bless and distribute 200 images of Our Lady of Fatima to different barangays and communities within the parish.
The apparitions were witnessed by three children who reported that they saw visions of Mary on May 13, 1917 and then again on the 13th day of five subsequent months.
In the Philippines, where various dioceses are expected to mark the centenary of the apparitions, the Our Lady of Fatima is also known as the Queen of Peace.
In Dagupan City, a 5:39 a.m. Mass will be presided by Archbishop Socrates Villegas at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral. A procession will follow.
In Portugal, the celebration will be highlighted by the canonization by Pope Francis of two of the three Fatima visionaries, brother and sister Francesco and Jacinta.
Source: Philippines News Agency