The Pope proclaimed saints two children

Image Crowd of devotees in Fatima

"And all those people praying with him?"

Up to a million people are believed to be present at the canonisation ceremony.

After nightfall, the crowds remained as compact as they had been since early morning.

The Pope will leave Fatima soon after Saturday's mass, ending a 24-hour trip.

At a candlelight vigil Friday, the pope told faithfully to "tear down all walls and spread peace and justice".

The Fatima mystery has fascinated Catholics and non-Catholics alike for a century, blending visions of the Virgin, supernatural meteorological events, and apocalyptic messages of hell, World War II, communism and the death of a pope.

The first secret, according to Lucia dos Santos and published in her 1941 memoirs, was a momentary vision of hell and occurred on July 13, 1917.

Referring to the Portuguese visionaries, Pope Francis said: 'Fatima certainly has a message of peace.

During an evening vigil at the chapel built on the site of the apparitions, Francis bowed his head in silent prayer before the statue of the Virgin and left a gold-leaf rose at its base, following a tradition of popes leaving golden roses at Marian shrines.

Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the three Fatima seers, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, May 13. The pontiff will canonize on Saturday two poor, ill.

The children said the Virgin Mary gave them three messages, the so-called secrets of Fatima.

A small group of schoolchildren serenaded Francis on the tarmac.

Image Candle Light Vigil in Fatima Portugal
The Pope proclaimed saints two children

"They're our little shepherds, it means everything to us", said Luisa Pacheco, a 48-year-old seamstress from the northern region of Porto who spent the night in her vehicle to see the ceremony.

Two Portuguese Air Force F-16 fighter jets escorted the pope's plane as it came in to land at the Monte Real Portuguese Air Force base, which lies amid pine forests a short distance from the rural town of Fatima.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa hosted a farewell ceremony for Francis at the military airbase from where the pontiff flew to Rome, nearly an hour later than scheduled.

The children said the Virgin Mary began making appearances to them in 1917 while they grazed their sheep. The pope will make two of them saints on Saturday. The Church says the first vision came on 13 May 1917. At the moment they prayed together there was utter silence.

Both children fell victim to the influenza epidemic of 1918 that swept through Europe.

Who are the Fatima child shepherds?

"Great injustice is done to God's grace whenever we say that sins are punished by his judgment, without first saying - as the Gospel does - that they are forgiven by his mercy!" he said.

On Friday, Pope Francis flew into Fatima, north of Lisbon, in a helicopter and traveled through town in his "Popemobile".

Only nine border crossings are open, with systematic checks, as Portugal has suspended the Schengen open borders pact.

Six thousand police officers patrolled the area and concrete blocks have been placed to protect the pilgrims.

The Vatican, for instance, has yet to recognize the reported continuous apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje since 1981.

Two huge tapestries made from photographs of the children hung from the church.

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