THE POPE will mark the first anniversary of the attempt on his life, next Thursday, by joining pilgrims in Fatima at a night prayer vigil.
The Pope was shot on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and he is making a pilgrimage of thanks for his recovery, arriving in Portugat on Wednesday at 1.30 pm and beginning the Fatima prayer vigil at 8 o'clock that evening.
May 13 is the anniversary of the day in 1917 when three young shepherds, two girls and a boy, saw the first of many apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima. They were told to pray and do penance for sinners and to pray for the conversion of Russia.
The Pope will stay in Portugal till Saturday evening. On Friday afternoon he will say Mass in Lisbon's extensive Edward VII Park, named after the English King who often visited the Portuguese capital. As many as a million pilgrims regularly visit Fatima on , big feasts, and the Pope can 'expect an enthusiastic welcome in this traditionally
Cardinal Antonio Ribeiro of Lisbon has called on Portuguese Catholics to renew their lives in the spirit of Vatican, Council II.
The cardinal, who is patriarch of Lisbon, asked Catholics "to intensify means for spiritual renewal and prayer based on the council's teachings on the mystery of the Church and the Pope's teaching authority."
The Lisbon daily, Diario de Noticias, said that the Pope's visit finds the Church facing "such problems as a decline in priestly vocations, a crisis affecting the Christian family and the material deterioration of churches" for lack of adequate resources.
About 9.5 million of Portugal's 10 million people profess Catholicism. The church has 4,523 priests, 574 fewer than in 1974. The latest Church census, taken • in 1977, showed, that an average of 27 percent attended Mass regularly, but in some areas this figure was as high as 80 percent.
Focus on Portugal — page 2