Pope Praises Rosary as Fatima Anniversary Nears

Cardinal Sodano to Represent Pontiff at Festivities

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says he hopes the 90th anniversary of Mary's apparitions in Fatima will help the faithful to grow in their appreciation of the rosary.



The Pope said this in a letter sent to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, naming him as the pontifical legate for the opening celebrations of the anniversary.

The celebrations will take place in Fatima, Portugal, this Saturday and Sunday.

The Holy Father's message reads: "We, who have already visited the sanctuary and, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, have studied the message entrusted by the Blessed Virgin Mary to the little shepherds, hope that the faithful will rediscover the value of praying the holy rosary."

The letter was written in Latin and published on Wednesday by the Holy See.

Pope John Paul II entrusted then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger with the task of writing the "Theological Commentary on the Third Part of the Secret of Fatima" (June 20, 2000).

On May 13, 2000, during the third and last visit of John Paul II to Fatima, Cardinal Sodano, then Vatican secretary of state, announced the third part of the secret of Fatima and explained its meaning. His announcement followed the beatification of two of the three visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta.

Benedict XVI's message also referred to John Paul II's visit to Fatima in 1982 to thank the Virgin Mary for "having preserved in a miraculous way" his life during the assassination attempt in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981.

Benedict XVI recalled how, on that occasion, John Paul II "exhorted the faithful to heed [Our Lady of Fatima's] warnings and fulfill her requests."