FATIMA, PORTUGAL— During his first day in Fatima, Pope Francis led pilgrims in prayer, asking that the Immaculate Heart of Mary would watch over the joys and sorrows of all mankind as they make their earthly pilgrimage.
“In the depths of your being, in your Immaculate Heart, you keep the joys of men and women as they journey to the Heavenly Homeland. In the depths of your being, in your Immaculate Heart, you keep the sorrows of the human family, as they mourn and weep in this valley of tears.”
“In the depths of your being, in your Immaculate Heart, adorn us with the radiance of the jewels of your crown and make us pilgrims, even as you were a pilgrim,” he said May 12 at the Chapel of the Apparitions.
Pope Francis led the prayer to Mary at the beginning of his two-day pilgrimage to Fatima in Portugal May 12-13 to celebrate the centenary of Mary’s appearance to three shepherd children in 1917.
During the visit, the Pope will also lead the recitation of the rosary at the prayer vigil. In the morning on May 13 he will celebrate Mass, presiding over the canonization of two of the Fatima visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
The prayer was prayed in five verses, while in between the assembly sang the refrain, in Latin: “Ave O Clemens, Ave O pia! Salve Regina Rosarii Fatimae. Ave O clemens, Ave O pia! Ave O dulcis Virgo Maria!”
The Pope prayed the first four verses himself and for the last was joined by those present. The beginning of each verse was addressed to Mary by a different title, including “Mother of Mercy” and “Hail, life and sweetness, hail, our hope, O Pilgrim Virgin, O Universal Queen!”
“With your virginal smile, enliven the joy of Christ’s Church. With your gaze of sweetness, strengthen the hope of God’s children. With your hands lifted in prayer to the Lord, draw all people together into one human family,” he prayed.
The Pope’s prayer frequently recalled the traditional Marian prayer called ‘Hail, Holy Queen.’
“Hail Holy Queen, Blessed Virgin of Fatima, Lady of Immaculate Heart, our refuge and our way to God!” he said. “O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary, Queen of the Rosary of Fatima!”
He asked for the grace to follow the example of Bl. Francisco and Jacinta, and everyone who has devoted themselves to proclaiming the Gospel.
“Thus we will follow all paths and everywhere make our pilgrim way; we will tear down all walls and cross every frontier, as we go out to every periphery, to make known God’s justice and peace.”
Praying for the intercession of the “Lady robed in white,” he recalled all those who are robed in the “splendor of their baptism” and who desire to live in Christ.
“And so we will be, like you, an image of the column of light that illumines the ways of the world,” he prayed, “making God known to all, making known to all that God exists, that God dwells in the midst of his people, yesterday, today and for all eternity.”
“Show us the strength of your protective mantle. In your Immaculate Heart, be the refuge of sinners and the way that leads to God,” he said.
“In union with my brothers and sisters, in faith, in hope and in love, I entrust myself to you. In union with my brothers and sisters, through you, I consecrate myself to God, O Virgin of the Rosary of Fatima,” he concluded.
“And at last, enveloped in the Light that comes from your hands, I will give glory to the Lord for ever and ever. Amen.”