Fatima-Lourdes Pilgrimage Post 1

CATHEDRAL PILGRIMAGE TO FATIMA AND LOURDES, POST 1

We had little to none internet availability in Fatima, except for Matt, who always seemed to be able get through. After several days off line, here is a quick synopsis of our pilgrimage to Fatima and Lourdes at this time (Friday at 6:30 pm Central European Time).

TUESDAY, AUG 6:
We arrived on time at Lisbon and were greeted by our guide for Portugal and Spain, Rui. Our first prayer of thanksgiving is that everyone’s luggage arrived!

Rui took us on a bus tour of Lisbon with a few stops for picture taking. After that we hit the highway in our very nice custom coach to Fatima, which is about an hour and a half from Lisbon.

We arrived at Fatima shortly after 7 pm and checked into our hotel, the Hotel Fatima, located directly across the street from the Fatima Basilica and Shrine. Had a great dinner at 8:30 in the hotel. Most folks were very tired and went to bed, but some stayed up for the Candlelight Procession which begins at 9:30 pm every day.

WEDNESDAY, AUG 7:

After an early breakfast we all went to the Basilica/Shrine, where I was privileged to be the principal celebrant of Mass in the Chapel of the Apparitions, which is the outside chapel. There were hundreds of people at the Mass.

Following Mass, we went on a bus tour of several of the important sites including the homes of Jacinta and Francisco, and Lucia, the three young children to whom the Virgin Mary appeared beginning on May 13, 1917. We also visited the parish church of Fatima, the places of the three apparitions of the Angel of Portugal to the children, which took place for about a year before the apparitions of Our Lady. We also visited a beautiful park which had the Stations of the Cross and the site of the middle apparition of the Angel, and also the site of the special apparition of Our Lady on August 19, 1917. She did not appear to the children on August 13 that month because the children were in custody and being questioned by the authorities.

In the afternoon we visited the Basilica, and also the special museum at Fatima. There we saw many things, but most important is the crown that is put on Our Lady’s statue for special occasions. It contains the bullet that struck Blessed John Paul II in the assassination attempt at the Vatican. He brought it to Fatima on this thanksgiving visit. Miraculously, it fits perfectly into a space in the crown, and needed no extra drilling or engineering. That evening we all went to the Candlelight Procession. It was very moving with thousands of people in attendance. It began with the recitation of the Rosary in several different languages. It was marvelous to hear all the people responding in their own languages, no matter what language was being used for the particular mystery. Then followed the Procession of the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima (Our Lady of the Rosary) around the open-air courtyard. Again following the Virgin, and singing Marian hymns, were probably 8 to 10 thousand people. It was quite a moving experience.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 8:

I celebrated Mass for the group at the Chapel of the Holy Family, newly constructed on the left side of the portico of the Basilica.

Following Mass, we checked out of the hotel and boarded our bus to go the northern Portuguese city of Oporto. The story continues in the next posting!

The Concho Padre

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