May 19, 2010.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, my Pastoral Visit to Portugal this past week enabled me to honour Our Lady of Fatima and to pay homage to the distinguished history of Christian faith and evangelizing zeal of the Portuguese people.
The visit began with a Mass celebrated in the Terreiro do Paço in Lisbon, where I urged Portugal’s Christians to carry on this great work of evangelization in our own day.
The heart of my journey was my pilgrimage to Fatima for the tenth anniversary of the Beatification of the shepherd children Francisco and Jacinta. The evening recitation of the Rosary and the solemn Mass on the anniversary of the first apparition were centred on the message of Fatima.
Our Lady’s exhortation to prayer, penance and conversion is essentially a summons to hope in God’s merciful love and trust in his saving plan, which triumphs over the threats and calamities of history.
As I give thanks for the blessings of my pilgrimage, I ask you to join me in asking Our Lady of Fatima to continue, by her prayers, to guide us on our journey to heaven, to open the hearts of all to God’s infinite mercy, and to confirm the Church in her perennial mission of proclaiming before the world the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am pleased to welcome the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including the groups from England, Malaysia and the United States of America.
I extend a special greeting to the students who are here and to the American Patrons of the Vatican Museums. Commending all of you to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, I ask Almighty God to pour out his blessings upon you.