Virgin Mary today asks same she asked of little shepherds 107 years ago, cardinal says

Virgin Mary today asks same she asked of little shepherds 107 years ago, cardinal says

Candlelight procession at Fátima, Portugal on May 12, 2024. / Credit: Screenshot/EWTN

ACI Digital, May 13, 2024 / 16:18 pm (CNA).

During the May 13 Mass that he offered on the feast day of Our Lady of Fátima at the shrine dedicated to her in Portugal, Cardinal Juan José Omella said the Virgin Mary asks of us today the same that she asked of the three visionaries 107 years ago, in 1917. 

The prelate is archbishop of Barcelona and former president of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference.

“What does Mary tell us today? The same thing she says in the Gospel, the same thing — prayer and sacrifice — she said to the little shepherds Francisco and Jacinta, 107 years ago, here in the Cova de Iría,” the cardinal said.

The archbishop also stressed that as Christians we must not lose “the virtue of prayer, of heart-to-heart dialogue with the Lord, personally and communally,” offering prayers such as the rosary and the Lord’s Prayer, “praying for the world, for the salvation of us all.”

“The second thing that Our Lady has asked of us and asks us today is to pray for peace” in a world racked by war in places like “Ukraine, Russia, the Holy Land, Africa, the Americas, Asia. How many countries need and appeal for peace!”

Omella also prayed for unity and fraternity in the Church because “a Church divided, some against others, is not close to the pope, to Jesus Christ, to all brothers. If we are not united, we will not be able to help and forgive each other, we will not evangelize.”

The archbishop of Barcelona noted on X on May 13 that “about 100,000 people are gathered today on the esplanade of this shrine” and that “a similar number of Ukrainian and Russian brothers have lost their lives because of the war. We pray for peace in Ukraine and for all the deceased so that, their sins forgiven, they may attain the glory of life in heaven with God and their brothers.”

“Happy feast day of the Virgin of Fátima!” he concluded. 

Attendance at the shrine 

According to the Fátima Shrine, on the evening of Sunday, May 12, about 250,000 pilgrims participated in the prayers and the traditional candlelight procession.

There were 186 groups of international pilgrims from 34 countries.

The rector of the Fátima Shrine, Father Carlos Cabecinhas, said at a May 12 press conference that there was an increase of 26.5% in pilgrims compared with 2023. In the first four months of the year, a total of 1,023,680 pilgrims participated in 304 events at the Cova da Iría.

Besides Portugal, the 10 countries from which the largest number of pilgrims came were Spain, Poland, Italy, the United States, Brazil, South Korea, the Philippines, Mexico, Croatia, and Ukraine.

This story was first published by ACI Digital, CNA’s Portuguese-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by ACI Prensa and CNA.