Pope Leaves For Fatima, His 92nd Apostolic Trip

VATICAN CITY, MAY 12, 2000 (VIS) - For the third time in his pontificate, John Paul II will travel to Fatima, Portugal, leaving Rome at 4 p.m. today for the start of his 92nd foreign apostolic trip. He was previously in Fatima on May 12-13, 1982 and May 12-13, 1991. The 1,967-kilometer trip will take three hours. The Pope is scheduled to travel from the Lisbon Airport to Fatima this evening by helicopter. 

Tomorrow morning, during Mass on the esplanade of the shrine, he will beatify Jacinta and Francisco Marto, two of the three shepherd children to whom the Virgin Mary appeared six times between May 13 and October 13, 1917. The third child, Lucia de Jesus, is now a 93-year old Carmelite religious whose name is Sister Mary Lucy of the Immaculate Heart. She will be at the beatification of her cousins.

Francisco Marto was born in nearby Aljustrel on June 11, 1908 and died on April 4, 1919. Jacinta was born on March 11, 1910 and died February 20, 1920. Both are buried in the basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. Except for martyrs, they are the two youngest persons ever to be beatified.