Formation

Francisco and Jacinta’s lesson

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Children are called to holiness

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston said that this weekend’s celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima can teach us all about the universal call to holiness and conversion.

“I’ve always had a great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima,” he told CNA, adding that he’s been involved in Portuguese ministry for many years.

The cardinal was the only U.S. bishop to attend the Feb. 13 festivities surrounding the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions in Portugal.

He said that the shrine at Fatima is among his favorite, and said that “it’s very moving to be here but especially be here with the Holy Father, for the hundredth anniversary and the canonization of Francisco and Jacinta. It’s just an unbelievable occasion.”

Particularly touching for him was the offertory at the canonization Mass, when the gifts were brought up by the family of the young boy whose miraculous healing was attributed to the intercession of two of the Fatima shepherd children, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, paving the way for their canonization.

The young Brazilian boy, named Lucas, was just five years old when he fell out of a window from a height of 20 feet. His head hit the ground, and he sustained serious injuries and a loss of brain tissue.

Doctors told the family that the boy’s chance of surviving was low, and if he did survive, he would have severe cognitive disabilities or even remain in a vegetative state. However, after the family and a nearby religious community prayed to the young shepherd children, Lucas suddenly made a full recovery, with no lasting effects of the injury.

Francisco and Jacinta are the youngest non-martyrs to be canonized, a fact which Cardinal O’Malley saw as significant.

“I think the lesson is that children are called to holiness…when they were beatified, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins who was the Prefect of the Congregation of Saints talked about how modern families entrust their children to professional teachers in schools for 15-20 years of formal academic formation but sometimes they’re not really prepared for life.”

To see more: CNA


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