Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pope offers hope against suffering at Fatima Mass

FATIMA, Portugal — Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday offered comfort to those enduring hardship, telling some 400,000 pilgrims at the Fatima shrine that suffering is not in vain.

The outdoor Mass was the centerpiece of Benedict's four-day visit to Portugal and marked the anniversary of the day 93 years ago when three local shepherd children reported having visions of the Virgin in this small farming town.

The May 13 celebrations are one of the Catholic church's major annual pilgrimages to a site where, many believe, the Virgin still works miracles.

"I have come to Fatima to pray, in union with Mary and so many pilgrims, for our human family, afflicted as it is by various ills and sufferings," Benedict told the crowd.

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