Our Pilgrimages

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British Saints

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The Holy Land

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Rome

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Fatima

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The Compostela Coach-Trip

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In the Footsteps of the Saints

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Organised Pilgrimages

The SimplePilgrim goes to Fatima

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It always surprises me how many people do not know the Fatima story. Admittedly, this takes a bit of research, although new books are becoming available that make the task a little easier. In preparation for the Centenary Celebrations next year, a new CTS publication, to be released shortly, The Message and Prayers of Fatima, 1917 – 2017, argues that "...Our Lady's appeal in 1917 to the three shepherd children of Fatima, for prayer, for peace and for a deep conversion of heart, rings out from the site of her apparitions at the world-famous shrine with greater relevance than ever for the people of our times." I would also recommend the film The Thirteenth Day to those unfamiliar with the story, as it provides an excellent overview.

A short history may, however, be helpful here.

On 13 May 1917, Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, while guarding their sheep in the Cova da Aria, witnessed an apparition of Our Lady of the Rosary. Our Lady indicated that she was sent by God with a message of prayer, repentance, reparation for sin and consecration to her Immaculate Heart. She visited the children on the 13th day of each month from May to October. The last apparition occurred on 13 October 1917, when the 70,000 pilgrims present witnessed the extraordinary miracle of the sun. The three children also reported seeing a number of visions, including those of Jesus, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and of St. Joseph blessing the crowd. The bishop of Fatima officially authorised the cult of Our Lady of Fatima on 13 October 1930.

Lucia eventually became a Carmelite nun, and recounted three prior visits from an angel to her and her cousins. Between April and October in 1916, this angel invited them to pray and do penance, visiting them twice in Loca do Cabeço and once by the well in the Dos Santos family's garden. Jacinta died in 1919 and Francisco in 1920, and they were beatified on 13 May 2000 by Pope Saint John Paul II. Lúcia remained a nun until she died in 2005.

It is possible to combine a Pilgrimage to the Shrine, with visits to other places associated with the three children, and other historic sites, as you will see from the Sample Itinerary below. Although next year is special, a visit to Fatima at any time, and particularly on the 13th day of the months May to October, is a profound spiritual experience.

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1: Flight, and arrival by 17.30. Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary (burial site of the Three Little Shepherds).

Day 2: International Rosary in the Capelhina (Chapel of the Apparitions). International Mass in the Square. Way of the Cross, Loca do Anjo, Valinhos, Aljustrel, Parish Church of St Anthony. Eucharistic Procession in the Square. Rosary in Domos Pacis Chapel. Vigil of the Apparition.

Day 3: Eucharistic Procession, International Rosary in the Capelhina, International Mass in the Square, Blessing of the Sick, Consecration and Farewell. Visit to the House of Candles.

Day 4: Early private Mass in the Capelhina. Carmelite Convent in Coimbra, Church of Saint Anthony of Olvais. Nazare, Church and beach.

Day 5: Mass at the Monastery of Pius XII, Blessing and Enrolment in the Brown Scapular Confraternity. Dominican Monastery of Batalha. Cistercian Monastery at Alcobaca. Departure at 20.35

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