Home News Pope Francis to visit Fatima to pray for peace in Ukraine

Pope Francis to visit Fatima to pray for peace in Ukraine

The Vatican has announced Pope Francis is set to return to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima during his apostolic visit to Portugal in August to pray for an end to the conflict in Ukraine.

It will be the second time in his pontificate that Francis will visit the Shrine, where three shepherd children received a message in May 1917 from the Blessed Virgin Mary about the future of humanity.

The itinerary was added to the papal pilgrimage to Portugal for the World Youth Day celebration in Lisbon on August 5.

In May 2017, Pope Francis went to the Marian shrine to canonize Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the two young visionaries, on the occasion of the apparitions’ centenary.

A Vatican News report said that the pope’s return to the Marian shrine “holds significance and reflects the Pope’s intention to address the tragic war afflicting ‘martyred Ukraine’” and the “numerous forgotten conflicts around the world.” 

The report said the pontiff’s plans “can be directly linked to another significant act he made just over a month after the outbreak of war: the Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary” in March 2022.

During the apparitions at Fatima, the Blessed Virgin Mary specifically requested the Consecration of Russia in its message to the shepherd children.

Pope Francis in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima on the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. (File photo by Daniel Ibañez/CNA)
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In March 2022, Pope Francis prayed, “We have strayed from that path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars.” 

“We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young… Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war… Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons,” said the pontiff.

The apparitions at Fatima hold a strong connection to the Popes of the 20th century, intertwining with their journeys. Pope Benedict XV, during the horrors of World War I, added the invocation “Queen of Peace, pray for us” to the traditional Litany of Loreto on May 5, 1917, just days before the first apparition at Fatima on May 13. This event coincided with Pope Benedict XV consecrating Bishop Eugenio Pacelli, who would later become Pope Pius XII.

On 31 October 1942, Pius XII consecrated “the peoples separated by error or discord” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In May 1967, Pope Paul VI made the first pilgrimage to Fatima by a Pope, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the apparitions. He emphasized the need for peace and urged people to focus on projects promoting common comfort and solidarity. 

Pope John Paul II, who survived an assassination attempt in 1981, believed that the third secret of Fatima revealed in 2000, pertained to himself as the “bishop dressed in white.” He visited the shrine three times during his pontificate. 

Pope Benedict XVI, who also made a pilgrimage to Fatima in 2010, said, “The person who thinks the prophetic mission of Fatima is concluded would be deluding themselves.”

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