Pope Francis offers the 'Golden Rose', recognition at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima Friday, May 12, 2017, in Fatima, Portugal. (Nuno Andre Ferreira/Pool Photo via AP)
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Pope Francis and pilgrims from around the world are flocking to a Catholic shrine town in Portugal to honor two poor, illiterate shepherd children whose visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago marked one of the most important events of the 20th-century Catholic Church.Francis arrives Friday to celebrate the centenary of the apparitions and canonize the children. He is hoping the message of peace that they reported 100 years ago, when Europe was in the throes of World War I, will resonate with the Catholic faithful today.For days now, church groups, families and individuals have made their way to Fatima, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Lisbon, some on their knees in prayer. He has done the same at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, at the shrine of Caacupe in Paraguay and the Virgin of the Charity of Cobre in Cuba.One major shrine he has avoided visiting is in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where six youngsters reported having had regular, repeated visions of the Virgin starting in 1981 . The church says the Fatima case is altogether different.
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