Nothing has been confirmed but bets are on that Pope Francis will be visiting Portugal next year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima.
For now, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has returned from his papal audience at the Vatican – his first State visit – confirming that the official invitation has been extended and that he (Marcelo) “left very satisfied”.
“The Pope knows the reality of Portugal and the reality of Fátima,” Marcelo told journalists in Rome. “I delivered our formal invitation, a formal letter. And what I tell you is what I can say. At this point, I understand that I cannot add anything with regard to the position of the Sainted Father, but I can say that my state of spirit is that of someone who left the audience very happy.”
Marcelo also left Rome in time to rubber-stamp the return of Portugal’s four public holidays – axed four years ago in the name of austerity. Two of the holidays are the commemorations of the Body of Christ (a movable holiday) and All Saints (November 1).
According to Portugal’s president, the return of the religious holidays “was very well received at the Holy See”.