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Fatima football club is to rename its stadium after Pope Francis

Pope Francis prays in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima (Photo: CNS)

Portuguese football club Fatima is renaming its stadium after Pope Francis, who is due to visit the town’s Marian shrine next week.

Club director Fr Antonio Pereira told Portugal’s Catholic radio station Renascenca that a plaque bearing the name “Estadio Papa Francisco” will be unveiled when the Pontiff arrives on May 12.

The arena, currently called Fatima Municipal Stadium, will act as the headquarters for the huge security operation mounted for the visit of less than 24 hours.

The day after the Pope leaves, Fatima plays its last game of the season, when it has the chance of winning promotion to Portugal’s second division.

Francis is visiting to canonise two Portuguese shepherd children who had visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago.