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Fatima Facts | Where to Go & What to See
May 13th, is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima. Here are some interesting facts about Fatima, Portugal and the places there that honor the Blessed Virgin Mary and her 1917 Apparitions.
About Our Lady of Fatima
The Virgin Mary first appeared in Fatima on May 13, 1917 to three Shepard children; Sister Lucia, St. Jacinta Marto and St. Francisco. The apparitions continued through October 1917, during World War I. The Blessed Virgin Mary counseled the children to pray the rosary and to pray for world peace.
Where is Fatima?
Fatima is located in central Portugal about 40 miles north of Santarem and 80 miles northwest of Lisbon.
Our Lady of Fatima Pilgrimage Sites:
- The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary is a spectacular neoclassical Church containing the tombs of St. Francisco, St. Jacinta, and Sister Lucia. Here you can view the monument that commemorates the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In homage to Our Lady’s consistency in her messages to pray the Rosary, the Basilica features fifteen altars that are dedicated to the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary.
- The Little Chapel of the Apparitions is a simple, yet modern Chapel which is located where the Virgin Mary first appeared to the children.
- The Shrine of Fátima Museum houses the exhibit, “Fátima: Light and Peace” containing a collection of offerings dedicated to Our Lady of Fátima.
- The Holy Trinity Basilica is a Minor Basilica in the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima built in the modernists style in 2007.
- The Via Sacra or “Sacred Way” marks the path taken by the children to the first apparition. Pilgrims can walk along this path and pray the Stations of the Cross at fifteen small Chapels before arriving in Valinhos, the site of Our Lady’s August 1917 apparition and the first and third apparitions of the Angel.
- Candlelight Vigils are celebrated by pilgrims at the Shrine at night.
See these sites for yourself on a Pilgrimage to Fatima!
Did You Know These Interesting Facts About Fatima?
- Over 4 million people make a Pilgrimage here each year.
- Over 1 million people attended the 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions on May 13, 2017
- Some pilgrims crawl 600 feet (182 meters) from the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity to the Chapel of Apparitions on their knees as an act of penance. Then they circle around the Chapel on their knees too, while praying the rosary.
- Many pilgrims make pilgrimage walking from all over Portugal, some from as far as Lisbon.
- The Fátima Prayer: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, and save us from the fires of hell, especially those with most need of thy mercy.
- Why “Fatima”? During the Christian conquest in the 12th century, a group of Moors were captured by a Christian army. Among them was a Moorish girl called Fátima. One of the Christians fell in love with Fátima and married her. When Fátima died, he built a small chapel (where the Fátima parish stands) in her honor; the lands received her name.
- The crown on the statue is an offering by Portuguese women in thanksgiving for Portugal having not entered World War II and consequently saving their men from having to fight in the war. The crown is believed to have 3,000 precious stones. It is also embedded with one of the bullets fired at St. Pope John Paul II, during an assassination attempt in Rome in 1981, in thanksgiving to Our Lady for saving his life.
Here Deacon John Hunt greets Maria dos Anjos, the niece of Sr. Lucia of Fatima (left) and poses for a group photo with fellow pilgrims (right) on a Pilgrimage to Fatima in April of 2019.
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“To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself” – Pope Benedict XVI
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