FÁTIMA, Portugal (CNS) – Before 200,000 pilgrims at Fátima, many of them with tears in their eyes, Pope Francis called for a new Marian devotional title – “Our Lady in a Hurry” – to describe how Mary hastens to care for all her children.
“There are many Marian invocations,” he told the crowd at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima on August 5, but one that is not common and should be comes from the biblical account of the visitation when Mary sets off to see her cousin who also is pregnant.
“It’s a loose translation, but where the Gospel says she set out ‘in haste’, we would say she went out running,” he said; “she went out running with that eagerness to be present.”
“‘Our Lady in a Hurry,’ do you like that?” Pope Francis asked his fellow pilgrims. “Let’s all say it together: ‘Our Lady in a Hurry.’ She hurries to be close to us. She hurries because she is a mother.”
“Every time there is a problem, every time we invoke her, she doesn’t delay, she hurries,” the Pope told the crowd, which was a mix of young people visiting Portugal for World Youth Day, and thousands of locals who came from across the country to Fátima to see the Pope.
Many pilgrims were sprawled out on yoga mats and in sleeping bags in the hours leading up to the Pope’s arrival.
Pope Francis’ morning in Fátima, about 75 miles north of Lisbon where World Youth Day is taking place, marked his second visit to the Marian shrine. In 2017, he celebrated Mass there to mark the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima to three Portuguese children.
In Fátima, Pope Francis put aside a prepared text to tell hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to invite Mary into their heart.
The Pope had been expected to offer a special prayer to Mary for peace after his remarks at Fátima, but instead the Vatican posted an abbreviated version of it on the Pope’s Twitter account.
“To you, we consecrate the Church and the world, especially those countries at war. Obtain peace for us,” the Tweet said. “You, virgin of the way, open paths where it seems that none exist. You who untie knots, loosen the tangle of self-centeredness and the snares of power.”
In the Chapel of the Apparitions, marking the exact spot where the three children saw Mary in 1917, Pope Francis prayed the rosary with 106 young disabled and sick people and six incarcerated youth.
The chapel, located in the centre of the shrine, “is like a beautiful image of the Church, welcoming, without doors, so that all can enter”, he said.
And at Fátima, too, Pope Francis noted, “we can say that all can come, because this is the house of the mother, and a mother always has her heart open to all of her children”.
Photo: Pope Francis greets children with a variety of illnesses and physical challenges after reciting the rosary at the Chapel of Apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima in Fátima, Portugal, on August 5, 2023 (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)