Our Journey to Fatima

Trip Start Mar 01, 2014
Trip End Apr 05, 2014

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Flag of Portugal  , Estremadura,
Friday, March 14, 2014

Three little shepherd children in 1917 saw a shining figure in a holm oak tree. This figure ordered them to return to this tree on the same day for six months, the date was May 13. Six months later 70,000 pilgrims joined 10 year old Lucinda and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco by the tree. They were younger.

Only Lucinda heard the "Secret of Fatima", who spoke to her on the last appearance. The first part of the secret was a vision of hell; the second was of a War worse than World War I. The third part, a vision of a papal assassination. When Pope John Paul II visited Fatima in 2000, this part of the secret was revealed to the world. The bullet from the attempted assassination of John Paul in 1981 now lies within the crown of the Virgin, a statue that stands where the children were when they saw her, the tree still stands, surrounded by fencing to protect it. The Pope beatified Jacinta and Francisco at this ceremony, their bodies rest in tombs in the basilica. They died two years after the vision. Lucinda, who became a nun died in 2005. She also now rests there as well.

It is an impressive place. The esplanade is twice the size of St. Peter's Square in Rome. There are people around but as you can see by my photo we feel quite alone. An emotional sight is the lighting of candles and prayers. Tony and Mike light a candle. You can't help a moment of silence. There are those that come here who want to be healed. Very difficult for me was the wax limbs (and wax other body parts, every possible body part) available to burn, for those hoping for a miracle performed by the Virgin. 

There are worshippers who in a deep, deep grasp of emotion and faith, drop to their knees in thanks as they reach the esplanade and continue walking on their knees to the tree and encircle the area of the sighting. Others do the same for briefer moments of time. The young man in a Friars cloak and bare feet makes me cry.

The Casa de Lucia is a modern church. It stands in front of me with a very modern rusted iron sculpture of Jesus on the cross to its left. It is an architectural building of beauty that to me represents the future, youth, peace and harmony. It sparkles like a rebirth. It is so opposite the old. It stands opposite the old across the esplanade. When you walked through the huge, sky reaching doors, you knew they opened for the world and everyone could come in. I have never felt so welcome in a church. When you we were inside you felt free. Incredible really because in the old you felt like you were disturbing something or someone. 
In this Church you smiled, ear to ear. In the other you became somber. I know I was not alone in this feeling as others, especially those of our generation felt it too. You saw it.

The Church bells rang loud and clear across the esplanade. Everyone was welcome to come and be a Pilgrim. If you go to Fatima, you are making a very worthy pilgrimage. 

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Pat on

I am speechless. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

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