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Two dead kids praised by Pontiff. Gets on third's goat

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The Pope is due to beatify two dead shepherd children who were lucky enough to see the Virgin Mary six times in five months way back in 1917 when they were just 11 and 12 years old. A third child was also in on the apparition but she's still alive, so it doesn't count.

The visions occurred in Fatima, Portugal and this will be the Pope's third visit to the area. But that's not the best bit - the whole ceremony will be broadcast live on the Internet at FatimaVirtual.

Unless you speak Portuguese, you're going to have a bit of trouble finding your way around though. The site has a fairly extensive rundown on the appearances which we churned through an online translator and came up none the wiser. Beatification is just one step away from sainthood. Since John Paul II is pretty keen on creating saints, surviving child Lucia Dos Santos, 92, must know she's in with a chance for the top slot - so long as the Marian-obsessed JP hangs in there for a few more years.

That's looking increasingly unlikely as the Pope gets weaker with each trip he goes on and is also suffering from Parkinson's. He'll be 80 on 18 May. The ceremony is on the 12th. ®

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