A group of 24 of us from the parish are on pilgrimage in Fatima. We arrived on Monday evening and will depart tomorrow.
Fatima is a place of great peace but also one to which one cannot come without taking seriously the message of prayer and reparation that the Angel of Peace and Our Lady transmitted to the three shepherd children Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta.
Here's the group by the sculpture of Pope John Paul II outside the new church of the Holy Trinity.
We are staying in a very nice Casa da N. S. das Doras, a house dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, where we have the use of a chapel for Mass and the Office, and excellent meals, all at a very reasonable price.
After morning prayer and Mass on Tuesday, we went to the museum Fatima Light and Peace for a very enlightening tour led by an American sister who managed to sum up in a very appealing and moving way the message that the three children had received, recalling that the apparitions took place in a time of darkness and war.
Our pilgrims were amazed to see the many precious objects - ranging from jewellery to a bicycle - that had been donated by pilgrims in thanksgiving for favours received. The most precious relic, of course, is the bullet which would have taken Pope John Paul's life on 13th May 1989 had Our Lady not protected him. It is contained in a precious crown that is kept in the museum.
In the afternoon we took the minitrain to Aljustrel to do the Way of the Cross and to visit the houses of the shepherd children. Unfortunately the house of Jacinta and Francisco was closed but we were able get into Lucia's house. The weather had by this time turned very very cold, and wet.
In the evening, we went to the international Rosary and procession.
Wednesday was a lighter day in the morning and the afternoon saw us on an excursion to the World Heritage monasteries of Batalha and Alcobaca, and to the lovely seaside town of Nazare.
Today is Thursday. We had Mass in the Capelhina this morning and generally a free day for all to go to Confession, do some shopping, make their own pilgrimage ... or share a drink in a very hospitable cafe-bar just near the shrine and our Casa. It is one of our pilgrim's - Peter Runciman's - 75th birthday!
I hope to up load some more photos soon.
Labels: Fatima, Pilgrimages