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Pope to formally approve canonizations, including of Fatima seers


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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis and cardinals present in Rome will formally approve the canonizations of two of the children who saw Mary in Fatima, a large group of Brazilian martyrs, three child martyrs from Mexico and two priests.

The Vatican announced April 11 that the "ordinary consistory," as the gathering is called, will take place April 20, a little more than three weeks before Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to Fatima, Portugal.

Although it cannot be confirmed until the consistory is held, the pope is expected to canonize the children, Blessed Francisco Marto and Blessed Jacinta Marto, during a Mass at the Fatima shrine May 13, the 100th anniversary of the first time Mary appeared to the siblings and their cousin, Sister Lucia dos Santos.

The other causes to be approved formally April 20 are:

-- The "Martyrs of Natal," Brazil, including: Blessed Andre de Soveral, a Jesuit priest; Blessed Ambrosio Francisco Ferro, a diocesan priest; Blessed Mateus Moreira, a layman; and 27 others. They were killed in 1645 in a wave of anti-Catholic persecution carried out by Dutch Calvinists.

-- The "Child Martyrs of Tlaxcala," Mexico -- Blessed Cristobal, Blessed Antonio and Blessed Juan -- who were among the first native converts in Mexico. They were killed between 1527 and 1529 for refusing to renounce the faith and return to their people's ancient traditions.

-- Blessed Manuel Miguez Gonzalez, a Spaniard born in 1831. He founded the Calasanzian Institute, a religious order of women dedicated to educating other women.

-- Blessed Angelo da Acri, an Italian Capuchin priest who was born Luca Antonio Falcone. A famed preacher, he was known for his defense of the poor. He died in 1739 and was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1825.

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