Pope Francis is most definitely coming to Portugal in 2017.
The occasion, the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary, witnessed by three shepherd children, has long been considered the most opportune time for the country’s next Papal visit, and the pontiff finally put an end to speculation last weekend, saying: “I will go, but to Fátima”.
The anniversary is celebrated in May, and will be a major draw for thousands of Catholics from all over the world.
The pontiff’s will involve ceremonies both in Fátima and at Cova da Iria, the site where the shepherd children first attested to having been visited by the Virgin on May 13, and thereafter on the 13th day of every successive month until October 13.
Pope Francis will be the fourth pope to visit Portugal, after Paul VI (1967), John Paul II (in 1982, 1991 and 2000) and Benedict XVI (2010).
Among the many commemorations lining up for the centenary anniversary is the relaunching of the Portuguese version of the book: The Fátima Phenomenon: Divine Grace, Delusion or Pious Fraud? By Algarve writer and journalist Len Port.
This fascinating study into the history behind the Apparitions is already available in English, via Amazon Kindle.
Meantime, the minutiae of the pope’s visit, including his day of arrival, is being kept under wraps.