May 14, 2010.
On his second day in Portugal, Pope Benedict XVI knelt at the Chapel of the Apparitions in Fatima. The pope prayed before a statue of the Virgin Mary, thanked her for saving the life of his predecessor and as a tribute, left behind a golden rose.
Thousands of pilgrims cheered for him outside the Shrine in Fatima where he later joined priests, deacons and bishops for a Vespers service.
Amid the sex abuse crisis rocking the Catholic Church, the pope offered words of encouragement and said priest should support each other with prayer, helpful advice and discernment.
The pope also warned them of what he called “weakening ideals.”
“Be especially attentive to those situations where there is a certain weakening of priestly ideals or dedication to activities not fully consonant with what is proper for a minister of Jesus Christ.”
In the end, the pope made an the “act of entrustment and consecration of priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” He also reminded them of the closing of the Year for Priest.
“In this Year for Priests which is drawing to its close, may grace in abundance come down upon you that you may live joyfully your consecration and bear witness to your priestly fidelity grounded in the fidelity of Christ.”
The pope’s visit to the shrine in Fatima coincides with the 10th anniversary of the beatification of two of the three young shepherds who reported the Virgin’s apparitions back in 1917.