On February 20, the liturgical Feast of Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the two little shepherd children of Fatima, is celebrated. The devotion to these new saints is increasing all around the world and there are many parishes and prayer groups commemorating this Feast date with some liturgical celebration.
As an example, the Shrine of Fatima in Valenzuela City, Philippines, has prepared for this year a three day program in honour of St. Francisco and St. Jacinta, including the veneration of their relics and some other devotional moments.
At the Shrine of Fatima, in Portugal, the program includes a vigil on the 19th, with the prayer of the rosary, candlelight procession and veneration of the Saints at their tombs. The celebration continues on the 20th with the prayer of the rosary in the Little Chapel of the Apparitions, followed by the procession with the icons of St. Francisco and St. Jacinta towards the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, where Holy Mass will be celebrated. During the afternoon, also in the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, there will be an encounter with the children for a catechesis.
The ‘Day of the Little Shepherds Francisco and Jacinta Marto´, will also be commemorated, for the first time, as a municipal holiday, in Juranda, city of the Diocese of Campo Mourão, in Paraná, Brazil, where Lucas, the child of the miracle that opened way to the canonization of the two children, lives.
Francisco Marto was born in Aljustrel, Fatima, on June 11, 1908, and his sister Jacinta Marto was born in the same locality, on March 11, 1910. In their humble family, the children learned to know and to praise God and the Virgin Mary. In 1916, they saw three times an Angel and in 1917, they saw six times the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking them to pray and to make penance for the conversion of sinners and to obtain peace in the world. Both, immediately, wanted to answer with all their strength, to these exhortations. More and more inflamed in the love to God and to the souls, they had only one aspiration: to pray and to suffer according to the requests from the Angel and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Francisco died on April 4, 1919 and Jacinta on February 20, 1920. Pope Saint John Paul II travelled to Fatima on May 13, 2000, in order to beatify the two children. Pope Francis came to Fatima on May 13, 2017, during the Centenary of the Apparitions, and canonized the two first non-martyr children in the history of the Church.