Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fátima, Portugal [Part II of III]



Fátima is a small town located in west central Portugal, about 120km north of Lisbon. Following a series of apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to 3 shepherd children in 1917, Fátima transformed from a rural village to a popular pilgrimage site visited by millions every year.

It all started on 13 May, 1917, when "a lady more brilliant than the sun" appeared to 3 shepherd kids (Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta) as they were tending to their sheep in their hometown in Cova da Iria. She urged them to pray often, and to return on every 13th day of the next 5 months to the same place, at the same time. She was to reveal some prophecies as well as what she wants of them during the subsequent meetings. During these apparitions, she taught the children to do penance & to pray for peace. She also revealed 3 prophecies to them, and they asked that she perform a miracle, so that the entire village would believe that she had appeared and spoken to them.

Finally on 13 October, 1917, the last apparition took place. By now, news of the apparitions had spread widely even beyond the town and a crowd of 70,000 was said to have gathered with the 3 children, waiting for the lady to appear once again. During this apparition, she finally revealed that she was "The Lady of the Rosary". She then instructed that a chapel be built there to honour her. While no one else actually saw her except for the children, the majority of the crowd witnessed the "Miracle of the Sun", true to her promise. From that day on, she was known as Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima, and all doubts were put to rest.


Above: Statues of 4 Portugese Saints stand on top of the monumental colonnades flanking both sides of the neo-classical Basilica. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima is a huge compound housing the main Basilica, several chapels and parks, as well as a spacious open plaza. Visitors are reminded to enter the premises as pilgrims and observe proper conduct at all times.


Above: Inside the Basilica. The painting above the altar depicts the message of Our Lady to the 3 children.


Above: The Chapel of the Apparitions. The spot where Our Lady was sighted is marked by the marble pillar on which her statue stands.


Above: Rain or shine, many devotees still get down on their knees to show their gratitude & devotion to Our Lady.


Above: The High Cross, at the opposite far end across from the Basilica.


Above: Also facing towards the Basilica on the left, is the sculpture of Pope John Paul II, who is a supporter of Our Lady of Fátima and had credited her for "saving his life" during his assassination attempt on 13 May, 1981. Following that, he had personally visited the shrine on 3 occasions.
*The very bullet that hit but didn't kill Pope John Paul II is encrusted in the crown of the Statue of Our Lady in the Chapel of Apparitions!*


Above: The modern looking Paul VI Pastoral Centre which functions as a place for study and reflection on the message of Our Lady of Fátima.

While visitors throng the Sanctuary throughout the year, most devoted pilgrims make their way there traditionally on May 13 and October 13 every year. Even though there are many hotels (most of which are very new in fact) located all over outside the Sanctuary, be sure to book way in advance of the peak periods if you plan to visit around those dates! For more information, click here.

2 comments:

  1. Tenemos desafortunadamente muchos negocios relacionados con la Fé y la Religión. Como por ejemplo el caso de las peregrinaciones a Fátima en Portugal. Estuve allí y me gustaría compartir mi experiencia:
    http://moramorao.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/supermercados-de-fe/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gracias por compartir su punto de vista ;)

    ReplyDelete

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