Title: Pope Francis Delivers Impromptu Speech and Prays for Peace During World Youth Day Vigil
Lisbon, Portugal – An estimated 1.5 million young people gathered in Lisbon to attend Pope Francis’ World Youth Day vigil, despite scorching temperatures soaring to 38 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday. With forecasted temperatures expected to top 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Sunday, pilgrims sought shelter from the heat under umbrellas and makeshift shades made of plastic canvas sheets.
To combat the extreme weather conditions, crews blew misters at the pilgrims to cool them down, and more than 400 faucets were set up around the field for pilgrims to fill their water bottles. However, the heat was not the only challenge faced during the event.
Smoke from wildfires in Portugal cast a hazy backdrop as people arrived for the vigil, adding to the already formidable conditions. Despite this, Pope Francis delivered an inspiring impromptu speech in his native Spanish, deviating from his prepared remarks for the fourth time in two days. In his speech, he spoke about the importance of journeying together as a community.
Earlier in the day, Pope Francis visited the Catholic shrine in Fatima, a sacred site associated with an apparition of the Virgin Mary received by three young Portuguese siblings in 1917. An estimated 200,000 people turned out for Pope Francis’ visit to Fatima, where he prayed silently for peace.
During his visit to Fatima, Pope Francis consecrated both Russia and Ukraine to Mary in a prayer for peace, especially amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Fatima shrine holds great significance as the siblings claimed to have received three secrets, including one that described an apocalyptic image of hell and foretold the rise and fall of Soviet communism. In 2000, the Vatican disclosed the third secret, which predicted the assassination attempt against St. John Paul II in 1981.
Notably, Pope Francis did not name specific countries during his consecration, instead consecrating the church and the world, particularly countries at war, to Mary. This gesture reflects his continuous efforts to promote peace and unity globally.
It is worth mentioning that Pope Francis, who often speaks off-the-cuff, has been hospitalized twice this year, including for abdominal surgery in June. However, his dedication to his duties remains unwavering as he tirelessly continues his mission to bring hope and spiritual guidance to millions around the world.
Overall, Pope Francis’ visit to Lisbon and Fatima was marked by moments of inspiration, prayer, and a call for peace, bringing together millions who seek solace amidst challenging times.
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