Pope Francis has approved the recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of two of the shepherd children who saw Our Lady of Fatima in 1917, thus paving the way for their canonisation.

Pope Francis signed the decree for the Causes of Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta Marto during a meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the Vatican said.

The recognition of the miracle makes it likely that the canonisation ceremony for the two children will be scheduled soon. Cardinals and bishops who are members of the congregation must vote to recommend their canonisation and if so, the Pope will convene the cardinals resident in Rome for a consistory to approve the sainthood.

Many people are hoping Pope Francis will preside over the canonisation ceremony during his visit to Fatima on May 12-13.

The pilgrimage will mark the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions, which began on May 13, 1917, when nine-year-old Francisco and seven-year-old Jacinta, along with their cousin Lucia dos Santos, reported seeing the Virgin Mary. The apparitions continued once a month until October 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.

The two-day pilgrimage on May 12-13 will mark the 100th anniversary of apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima.

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