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Fátima is a Portuguese city located in the center of Portugal, a city known for the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora de Fátima. The city is one of the most important religious tourism destinations in the world. The landscape of Fátima is defined by the Sanctuary and the huge square that integrates it. From the air we can observe the immensity of the square, the Basilica of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, the Chapel of the Apparitions and the Basilica of the Holy Trinity. Fátima is located in a valley of Serra de Aire e Candeeiros, approximately 127 km away from Lisbon, in an hour and twenty minutes drive. Fátima is an integral part of the Santarém district, the Centro Region and the Ourém municipality. Fátima’s main economic activities are religious tourism, restaurants and hotels. Fátima has approximately six million visitors per year and a record 9.4 million people in the year of the centennial of the Apparitions in 2017.
The Miracle of Fatima
The apparitions of the Angel of Peace …
Fátima is closely related to the apparitions of the Angel of Peace and Our Lady of Fátima. The Angel of Peace appeared three times:
1. A First Appearance of the Angel happened in the spring of 1916 in Loca do Cabeço when the shepherds were guarding the flock. According to what they say, the Angel of Peace always appeared preceded by a gust of wind.
2. A Second Apparition of the Angel took place in the summer of 1916 at Lúcia’s house, located in Poço do Arneiro.
3. A Third Apparition of the Angel happened again at Loca do Cabeço. In this apparition the Angel of Peace gave communion to the Three Little Shepherds. According to reports by Sister Lúcia (Lúcia de Jesus Rosa dos Santos, pastor of Fátima), the Angel of Peace brought with her a chalice and a host that she left suspended in the air, leaving the chalice for Jacinta and Francisco, and the host for Lucia.
… and the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima
Later there were 6 apparitions of Our Lady:
1. A First Apparition of Nossa Senhora de Fátima was on May 13, 1917, at Cova da Iria, site of the current Sanctuary of Fátima. The first apparition was preceded by lightning at the site of the Basilica of the Apparitions. Afraid of the rain, the shepherds began to return home until, in the place where Capelinha das Aparições is currently located, a second lightning strike occurred and the shepherds glimpsed the image of Our Lady of Fatima on top of the holm oak. It was in this first apparition that Our Lady of Fatima asked the little shepherds “Do you want to offer yourself to God?”
2. A Second Apparition of Nossa Senhora de Fátima was in June 1917, when she announced the death of Francisco and Jacinta.
3. A Third Apparition happened on July 13, 1917, when the Fatima Secret was transmitted in three phases, the first phase with the vision of Hell; the second phase through the existence of a new war, World War II, the triumph of communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989; the third phase, was written by Sister Lúcia in 1944, reporting the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1981.
4. A Fourth Apparition of Nossa Senhora de Fátima took place on August 19, 1917 in Valinhos, after the imprisonment of the three shepherds for three days in the Ourém Prison. Our Lady of Fatima promised to perform a miracle for everyone to see.
5. A Fifth Apparition took place on September 13, 1917, when Our Lady of Fatima appeared to inform that it would be essential for the three little shepherds to continue praying for the First World War (1914-1918) to end.
6. A Sixth Apparition was on October 13, 1917 at noon when the Miracle of the Sun happened. On that day, approximately 70 thousand people from all religions and professions gathered under a torrential rain that it ended suddenly. Then the sun began to rise and fall, according to reports of the time. Meanwhile, the three little shepherds were watching other events in three phases: in a first phase they saw Our Lady of Fatima, Menino Jesus and São José blessing the world, in a second phase they saw Our Lady of Fatima and Nossa Senhora das Dores blessing the world, and in the last stage they observed Nossa Senhora do Carmo.
The canonization of the Little Shepherds of Fatima
In the 1950s, after the Apparitions of the Angel of Peace, of Nossa Senhora de Fátima, and the deaths of Francisco and Jacinta, the stages for the beatification process began through two orders. The first request was from Catholic Youth for Jacinta and the second request was from Catholic Youth for Francisco . The beatification process was completed in 1979, the year in which Father Kondor was appointed Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Canonization of the Little Shepherds of Fatima. What until now was prohibited by the Catholic Church, happened for the first time, when a canonization process was handed out to young people under the age of 16 who did not die as martyrs. Father Kondor was responsible for the canonization process, and contacted the largest possible number of bishops around the world to help, writing letters to Pope John Paul II asking for the beatification of the two little shepherds. The result was the sending of three hundred apostolic letters asking for canonization and the convening of a meeting in April 1981 by Pope John Paul II, where professionals from many fields are present, namely theologians and doctors. The meeting lasted several weeks, and the main debate was the theme of “whether or not holiness is possible during childhood”. At the end of the meeting, it was decided that holiness during childhood was possible and the ecclesiastical law was changed, with the creation of the Decree of Heroicity of Your Virtues on May 13, 1989. On May 13, 2000 Pope John Paul II visited Fatima to canonize the two little shepherds Jacinta and Francisco. From this moment, the Cult of the Little Shepherds was created and the February 15th was established as the day of the Little Shepherds. The Igreja dos Pastorinhos de Alverca was the first church built to practice the worship of the Pastorinhos.
The stories and legends of the origin of the name of Fátima
The first theory of the name of Fatima is related to the story of one of the daughters of the Prophet Muhammad (571-632), Fatimah bint Muhammad (604-632). Legend has it that Moorish horsemen, when they were hospitalized in the area, saw a woman dressed in white, who ended up being associated with Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. There is another legend that tells the story of Traga-Mouros, Conde de Ourém, one of the best warriors and poets of Dom Afonso Henriques (1109-1185). According to the legend Gonçalo Ermiges, a Templar Knight who fell in love with the Moorish princess Fátima when he saw her once in the distance. From that moment on he never stopped thinking about her, and so that he could marry the princess, he decided to devise a plan to kidnap her. So on the night of Festa das Luz, now São João, he gathered some knights and went to Alcácer do Sal, where the princess lived and abducted Fátima. Then he went to ask Dom Afonso Henriques for authorization to marry, which he accepted under two conditions: that the princess should be baptized, and that the knight should defeat Prince Abu. As Dom Afonso Henriques wanted, Fátima was baptized with the Christian name of Oureana, and Prince Abu was defeated. As a reward, Dom Afonso Henriques offered the village of Abegas, which in honor of Oureana, became known as Oureana village, and later, Ourém village. According to legend, both lived very happily until Oureana died. Gonçalo Ermiges decided to move away from earthly life to join the order of St. Bernard in the Monastery of Tomareis, where he died. From that moment on, the land where Fatima lived changed to Terras de Fátima and, later, Fátima.
Political situation in Portugal and the Miracle of Fátima
The First Republic, politically unstable, realized that the Message of Fatima could be used to achieve peace and to obtain the support of the people. The year 1929 was essential for the growth of the notoriety of Fátima before Portuguese society, in the Portuguese Catholic Church and with the political regime due to the rise to the top of the Portuguese ecclesiastical hierarchy of Cardinal Cerejeira (1888-1977), a believer of the Cult of Mary and the Miracle of Fatima. Relations between the Portuguese Catholic Church and the Portuguese government were regularized, and with the emergence of the Estado Novo, the importance of Fátima increased significantly. Fatima came to be used as propaganda to allow the legitimation of the Salazar dictatorship and in the European struggle against communism of the Soviet Union.
The Miracle of Fatima appeared in a very violent and troubled European and national context, having been interpreted as a sign of peace and divine by believers, and seen as a political advantage by non-believers. In Europe and Portugal between 1917 and 1920 there were a series of troubled events, namely the First World War (1914-1918), the Russian Revolution of 1917, the flu outbreak in 1918 across Europe. The sending of Portuguese troops to France in January 1917, the massacre of La Lys where many Portuguese soldiers died, the rise to power of Afonso Costa that led to the appearance of strikes, riots, and store robberies, the December 3 revolt 1917 led by Sidónio Pais, the entry into force of the rationing voucher scheme on 23 September 1918, the murder of Sidónio Pais on 14 December 1918, the existence of a severe outbreak of typhus and infectious flu in Portugal in 1918, and the occupation of Porto by Paiva Couceiro in January 1919, where he declared the Northern Monarchy that lasted until February.
TOP 10 attractions in the city of Fátima
Sanctuary of Fátima
1. Sanctuary of Fátima: it is considered one of the most important places of worship for the Catholic religion in the world, it is located in Portugal, in Cova da Iria. The Sanctuary of Fátima began to be built in 1917 with the placement of an arch in the place where the First Apparition took place. In 1919 the arch was replaced by the Capelinha das Aparições
- Capelinha das Aparições was the first structure of the Sanctuary, built on the site of the apparitions. The first chapel was opened on June 15, 1919, was destroyed in an attack in 1922, and reopened in 1923. The highlights of Capelinha das Aparições are the porch built to receive Pope John Paul II in 1982, the ceiling lined with Siberian pine wood in 1988, the column where we find the statue of Nossa Senhora de Fátima that represents the place of the first apparition, by José Ferreira Thedim, and the organ, by Gerhard Grenzing.
- Basilica of Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima, erected in the place where on the 13th of May 1917 the three little shepherds were playing and a lightning strike occurred. The first stone of the basilica was blessed on May 13, 1928 by the Archbishop of Évora Dom Manuel Mendes. The project was completed on October 12, 1953. It received the title of basilica on November 12, 1954 granted by Pope Pius XII. The building was entirely constructed with material extracted from the quarries of Moimenta, marbles of Estremoz, Pêro Pinheiro and Fátima. The main highlights abroad are the bell tower 65 meters high, the carillon with 62 bells by José Gonçalves Coutinho, a bronze crown with seven tons merged in Fundição do Bulhão, the clock designed by Bento Rodrigues, the angels on the facade by Albano França, and the statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary sculpted by Thomas McGlynn according to the Sister Lucia’s nominations. The statue measures 4.5 meters and weighs 15 tons. The main highlights in the interior are the mosaic produced by the Vatican Workshops representing the Holy Trinity to crown Our Lady of Fatima, the stained glass windows that represent scenes of life of Our Lady of Fatima, of the Apparitions and of the Message of Fatima, the picture of the altarpiece that represents the Message of Our Lady of Fatima, fourteen side altars that represent fourteen Mysteries of the Rosary, the Capela-vault of the Capela-Mor where the Fifteenth Mystery of the Rosary is represented, the tomb of Dom José Alves Correia da Silva, an organ assembled in Padua in 1952 with 152 registers and 12 thousand tubes of lead, tin and wood, on the right side of the chancel are the Francisco’s tomb, on the left side of the chancel is the tomb of Jacinta Marto and the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament that has exhibited the Blessed Sacrament since 1960.
- Basilica of the Holy Trinity, with a project by the architect Alexandros Tombazis, was inaugurated on October 12, 2007. The basilica has a capacity for 8633 seats in an area of 40 thousand square meters. The first stone was offered by Pope John Paul II, being part of the tomb of the Apostle Saint Peter. The main highlight is the roof of the basilica, built to receive photovoltaic panels.
- Water Mirrors located at the entrance to the Basilica of the Holy Trinity represent baptism (with the water cascade) and Creation (with the water rising from the fountain). The project was designed by the architect Tombazis. The main points of attraction are the presbytery panel by Father Marko Ivan Rupnik.
- Chapel of the Angel of Peace, is the former Chapel of the Sacred Lausperene inaugurated on January 1, 1987, with the first stone blessed by Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1982. Since January 1, 1960 that the Blessed Sacrament is exposed twenty-four hours a day so that the faithful can venerate it. The architect José Carlos Loureiro was responsible for the chapel. The main points of interest are the two stained glass windows of the entrance by Rolando Sá Nogueira, and the silver monstrance by Zulmiro de Carvalho.
- Rectory Building opened on May 13, 1986 by Cardinal Dom António Ribeiro. It is in this building that the administrative services of the Sanctuary and the Casa de Retiros de Nossa Senhora do Carmo operate.
- Casa de Retiros de Nossa Senhora do Carmo is the place where Pope John Paul VI and Pope John Paul II slept.
- Nossa Senhora das Dores Hostel and Retreat House are used as a shelter for the sick who come to make pilgrimages. The main highlight is the Capela do Sol which includes a painting that represents the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and a stained glass window with the Miracle of the Sun.
- Praça do Santuário, an imposing square built by Cottinelli Telmo (1897-1948).
- Colonnade that connects the buildings on each side of the sanctuary. The main points of interest are the monumentality that the 200 columns transmit, the 14 altars representing the 14 stations of the Via Sacra with paintings by Lino António, and the 17 images of devoted saints of Nossa Senhora de Fátima.
- Monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus with emphasis on the golden bronze statue located in the center of the Shrine as a symbol of Jesus’ centrality in the Message of Fatima.
- Berlin Wall Block, a 2.6 ton block of the Berlin Wall that fell in 1989 and was inaugurated here on August 13, 1994. This block was offered by a Portuguese emigrant who lived in Germany, Virgílio Casimiro Ferreira. The project is by José Carlos Loureiro.
- Paulo VI Pastoral Center opened in 1982 by Pope John Paul II.
- Cruz Alta opened on August 29, 2007 with 34 meters high and 17 meters wide. The project is by Robert Schad.
- Monument to Pope John Paul II opened in 2007 with a height of 3.5 meters. The project is by Czeslaw Dzwigaj. At the base of the statue is a quote from John Paul II – “My adoring thought goes to the Most Holy Trinity, explained in this blessed land of Fatima: Blessed be God, rich in mercy, for the great love with which he loved us”
- Monument to Fathers Formigão and Fischer designed by Graça Costa Cabral and inaugurated on October 13, 1998 as a tribute to the two most important priests in the promotion of Fátima.
2. Aljustrel: the village of Aljustrel was the place where the three shepherds Francisco, Jacinta and Lúcia were born. In 1917, Aljustrel had approximately 100 inhabitants. the highlights are Casa de Lúcia, the place where Lúcia lived until she was fourteen and where she was interrogated for the first time. Casa de Lúcia was offered in 1981 to the Sanctuary of Fátima. It recreates the daily life of the family. The main highlight is the Poço do Arneiro, which is at the back of the house, where the Angel appeared for the second time, and where Lucia saw one of the popes crying in a large house. Casa de Jacinta and Francisco, the place where the two little shepherds were born, and where Francisco died of bronchopneumonia.
Fátima Sanctuary Museum
3. Museu do Santuário de Fátima: opened in 1955. The main highlights of the museum are the permanent exhibitions on the themes Fátima Luz e Paz, and Casa-Museu de Aljustrel. The main objective of the museum is to disseminate the history of the Sanctuary of Fátima.
Fátima Sanctuary Museum
3. Museu do Santuário de Fátima: opened in 1955. The main highlights of the museum are the permanent exhibitions on the themes Fátima Luz e Paz, and Casa-Museu de Aljustrel. The main objective of the museum is to disseminate the history of the Sanctuary of Fátima.
4. Via Sacra: also called Calvário Húngaro is a via crucis that begins at the south roundabout at the exit of Fátima and ends at a chapel at Monte dos Valinhos. The Way of the Cross was born during World War II at the wish of the two Hungarian priests, Father Elias Kardos and Father Luís Kondor. The Hungarian Calvary represents the Hungarians’ desire for the country’s revival, formerly occupied by the Soviet Union. The project by Hungarian architect Ladislaw Marec was presented in 1956 to Dom José Alves Correia da Silva, the Bishop of Leiria. The Via Sacra was financed by Hungarian refugees living in the West and opened on May 12, 1964. Along Via Sacra there are 14 chapels representing the Fourteen Mysteries and a 15th chapel offered by the parish of Lajosmizse in Hungary , opened on October 13, 1992, after the fall of communism. The highlights of Via Sacra are the Chapel of Santo Estêvão inaugurated on October 13, 1992 and remodeled in 1994. Inside, there are mosaics with representations of the Apparitions of Nossa Senhora de Fátima in Cova da Iria, the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady of Fátima and the consecration of Hungary to the Virgin Mary, the panels of the stations in low relief representing the visions of Catarina Emmerich and the image of Our Lady Patron of Hungary, sculptures, the stained glass windows that represent saints Hungarians, mosaics depicting the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, and the handing over of the Hungarian crown by King Saint Stephen to Our Lady of Fatima. Loca do Cabeço, the place where the first and third apparitions of the Angel of Peace took place, with images of the Angel and the three little shepherds. It was here that the Angel gave communion to the little shepherds and taught two prayers to comfort the Offended God. And the Monument of homage to Our Lady at the place where Our Lady of Fatima appeared on August 19, 1917.
Parish Church of Fátima
5. Parish Church of Fátima: located approximately 2 km from the Sanctuary of Fátima, it presents Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres as the patron saint. It was at the Parish Church of Fátima that the three little shepherds were baptized, where Sister Lúcia made her First Communion, a place of prayer for Francisco and where Our Lady of Fatima appeared to Jacinta to teach him how to pray third. The highlights are the image of Nossa Senhora do Rosário sculpted and painted according to the indications of Lúcia, images of Nossa Senhora de Fátima, Francisco and Jacinta by Jaime Santos and Manuel machado, a baptismal font where the three little shepherds were baptized.
House-Museum of Aljustrel
6. Casa-Museu de Aljustrel: it is the former home of the godmother of Lúcia, acquired later by the Sanctuary of Fátima. The Casa-Museu was opened in 1992 with the objective of representing the daily life of the inhabitants of the village in 1917. The main highlight is the collection Mobiliário, Casa e Trabalho.
7. Museu de Cera: located near the Sanctuary, in the center of the city of Fátima, reports the main events in the history of the city. The main highlights are the 32 scenes with 120 figures representing scenes related to the pilgrimage, the story of the three little shepherds, the story of Fátima, important events for Portugal and a figure with Pope Francis.
Museum of Apparitions
8. Museum of Apparitions: located at Rua Jacinta Marto, it is a museum dedicated to the Apparitions of the Angel of Peace and of Our Lady of Fátima. The main highlights are the 31 statues and the recreation of the vision of Hell and the Miracle of the Sun through the effects of lights and sounds made around the statues.
Fátima Miracle Museum
9. Museu Milagre de Fátima: located at Avenida Dom José Alves Correia da Silva, the museum tells the History of Apparitions through virtual reality. The museum consists of seven virtual exhibitions, with the themes “The World in 1917”, “Apparitions of the Angel”, “Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima”, “The Doubt, The Miracle of the Sun”, “The Secret of Fatima” , “Fatima”, “a universal devotion”, “John Paul II”, “the Pope of Fatima”, and “The Sharing”.
Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Ortiga
10. Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Ortiga: it is a place of pilgrimage located in Ortiga, near Fátima. Legend has it that Our Lady of Fatima appeared in this place in 1758 to a dumb shepherdess. Currently, it is a place of pilgrimage for the believers of Nossa Senhora da Ortiga, and where the Feasts of Nossa Senhora da Ortiga are held on the first Sunday of July and the following two days.
Figures of Fatima
- Lúcia de Jesus dos Santos (1907-2005): Lúcia was born on March 28, 1907 in Aljustrel and died on February 13, 2005 in the city of Coimbra. Lúcia was a cousin of Francisco and Jacinta. Lúcia was the daughter of António dos Santos (1873-1919) and Maria Rosa (1869-1942). Lúcia was the youngest of six siblings, playing, walking and dancing. In addition to these recreational activities, she also worked in herding from an early age due to the family’s poverty. Lúcia’s life, together with that of her cousins Francisco and Jacinta, changed from 1917 with the occurrence of the Miracle of Fatima. Lucia was the only one who could see, hear and speak with Our Lady of Fatima. After the death of her cousins, Lúcia went to live for the Congregation Santa Doroteia in Spain, and at Carmelo in Coimbra, where she adopted the name of Sister Maria Lúcia de Jesus and the Immaculate Heart.
- Francisco Marto (1908-1919): born on April 11, 1908 and died on April 4, 1919 in Aljustrel. Francisco was the penultimate son of Manuel Pedro Marto and Olímpia de Jesus. According to the testimonies he was a peaceful, kind and reserved boy who liked to play the fife. San Francisco died at home of pneumonic flu. The shepherd boy was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 13, 2000 and canonized on May 13, 2017 by Pope Francis. Jacinto’s religious celebration day is February 20th. Francisco Marto is buried in the Basilica of the Apparitions.
- Jacinta Marto (1910-1919): Jacinta was born on March 5, 1910 in Aljustrel and died on February 20, 1920 in Lisbon at Hospital Dona Estefânia. According to the records, the shepherdess always had serious features, but at the same time she was modest and friendly. It was Jacinta who broke the code of silence of the three little shepherds, who had agreed not to mention that they had seen the Angel of Peace and Our Lady of Fatima. After his death at Hospital Dona Estefânia, Jacinta’s body was in a funeral ceremony at the Igreja dos Anjos in Lisbon, having been transferred to the Ourém cemetery in the Barões de Alvaiázere deposit on 25 February. On September 12, 1935, she was transferred to Fátima and on May 1, 1951 she was transferred to the Basilica of Nossa Senhora do Rosário. Saint Jacinta was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 13 May 2000 and canonized by Pope Francis on 13 May 2017. Jacinta’s religious day is 20 February
- Dom José Alves Correia da Silva (1872-1957): Dom José Alves Correia da Silva was born on January 15, 1872 in Maia and died on December 4, 1957 in Leiria. He was appointed Bishop of Leiria on May 15, 1920 and received episcopal ordination on July 25, 1920. He was the first Bishop of the Diocese of Leiria who was reactivated on January 17, 1918, after being extinct in 1882. Pope John Paul II changed the name from Diocese of Leiria to Diocese of leiria-Fátima on May 13, 1984. Dom José Alves Correia da Silva played an essential role in spreading the Message of Fatima. He created the Museum of the Sanctuary of Fátima in 1955. The Bishop of Nossa Senhora de Fátima, as he was also known, received the Grand Cross of the Order of Benemerence by the President of the Republic Óscar Carmona in 1945, the Meritissima Cross of São Raimundo de Peñafort by Spanish head of state in 1948, and was appointed assistant to the solid pontifical in 1956 by Pope Pius XII. Dom José Alves Correia da Silva is buried in the Basilica of Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima.
- José Ferreira Thedim (1892-1971): Portuguese sculptor responsible for the construction of the statue of Nossa Senhora de Fátima that is in Capelinha das Aparições.
- Father Luís Kondor (1928-2009): Hungarian priest of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Divine Word and Vice-Postulator of the Cause for the Beatification of Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Father Luís Kondor played an essential role in spreading the Message of Fatima and in the beatification of the little shepherds through the publication of a bulletin in seven languages that was written from 1959 with the aim of making the life of Francisco and Jacinta Marto known. Father Kondor was also responsible for launching the Valinhos Monument, the Via Sacra, the Calvary Chapel, São Miguel College in Fátima, the Diocesan Seminary and the Episcopal Palace in Leiria.
- Father Manuel Nunes Formigão (1883-1958): he was the main promoter of Fátima and the cult of the Apparitions. Padre Formigão made a series of interrogations to the three little shepherds who contributed to the elaboration of a canonical report of May 3, 1922. This report was essential for the validation of the occurrence of the apparitions by the Bishop of Leiria in 1930. Padre Formigão when was sent to Fátima was skeptical but, over time, he became one of the main believers of the Fátima Apparitions, and developed a series of essential actions for the dissemination of Fátima, namely reports on the first pilgrimages to Cova da Iria, wrote a from the first books on Fátima, he coordinated the purchase of land for the construction of the Capelinha das Aparições. The beatification process of Father Formigão began on September 13, 2001 and ended on April 16, 2005, having been handed over to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in Rome. Father Formigão’s main books are “The Wonderful Episodes of Fatima 1921”, “The Fatima Events of 1923”, “The Great Wonders of Fatima 1927”, “Fatima”, “Paradise on Earth 1930″, ” What is Fatima 1936 “,” Faith and Fatherland 1937 “,” Calendar of Our Lady of Fatima 1940 “and” Almanac of Our Lady of Fatima 1944 “.
- Pope Pius XI (1857-1939): was born on May 31, 1857 in Desio, Italy and died on February 10, 1939 in Vatican City. Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti served as pope between 6 February 1922 and 10 February 1939. He was the first ruler of the Vatican, since the Vatican had lost its independence since the extinction of the Pontifical States in 1870. On 1 November 1926, the diplomatic representative of Pius XI Monsignor Sebastiano Nicontra visited Fatima. This visit contributed to the fact that on 27 January 1927 priests were sent to Cova da Iria. Pope Pius XI performed the first two official acts that recognized the importance of Fatima, namely blessing and in 1929 distributed prints of Our Lady of Fatima with the invocation “Mother clementissimo, salvai Portuga” and blessing a statue of Our Lady of Fatima by the author José Ferreira Thedim to join the Pontifical Portuguese College in Rome.
- Papa Pio XII (1876-1958): he was born on March 2, 1876 in Rome, Italy and died on October 9, 1958 on October 9, 1958 in Italy. Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Pacelli served as pope between 2 March 1939 and 9 October 1958. Pius XII was the first Pope who was born in Rome since 1724, and the first Pope who recognized the religious phenomenon of Fatima. He is called Pope of Fatima. It was Pius XII who consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and sent Cardinal Aloisi Masella (18979-1970) to Fátima on May 13, 1946 to crown the image of Our Lady of Fatima.
- Pope Paul VI (1897-1978): he was born on September 26, 1897 in Concesio, Italy, and died on August 6, 1978 in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini served as Pope between June 21, 1963 and August 6, 1978. Pope Paul VI was the first Pope to go to Fatima and pray for peace in the world, having designated himself a Pilgrim of Fátima on May 13, 1967. Paul VI proclaimed Mary Most Holy as Mother of the Church and offered the Rose of Gold to the Shrine of Fátima in 1964
- Pope John Paul II (1920-2005): Karol Józef Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, Poland, and died on April 2, 2005 in the Vatican. Wojtyla served as pope between 16 October 1978 and 2 April 2005.
Pope John Paul II visited Portugal on three occasions, namely on 12 and 15 May 1982, on this trip, Pope John Paul II thanked Our Lady of Fatima for protection in relation to the attack he had suffered in the Vatican in the May 13, 1981. Pope John Paul II was the first pope in history to beatify children, Francisco and Jacinta. On 10 and 13 May 1991 Pope John Paul II visited Lisbon, Azores, Madeira and Fátima. On this visit, Pope John Paul II was the target of an attack by Father Integrista Juan Fernandéz Krohn, who did not accept the pope’s authority. Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in Fatima and Lisbon, at Restelo Stadium. On 12 and 13 May 2000: Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta Marto.
Curiosities of Fátima
- Fátima, Futebol e Fado was the motto that the Estado Novo regime (1933-1974) used to characterize Portugal.
- The apparitions of Our Lady in Fátima are part of the sixteen apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima that are officially recognized by the Holy See, out of a total of two thousand apparitions that have been reported.
- Fátima is represented in approximately ten thousand locations spread across the five continents of the planet.
- Fátima receives six million visitors who participate in religious ceremonies, which is more than those who visit the Vatican and Lourdes in France.
- During the years of the First World War (1914-1918) there were reports of several apparitions of Nossa Senhora de Fátima, namely in Barral, in Ponte da Barca and an appearance to a pastor on May 11, 1917 to a pastor in the area of Lisbon.
- The Image of Nossa Senhora de Fátima da Capelinha das Aparições has been running throughout the Iberian Peninsula since 1942.
- The Image of the Pilgrim Virgin has covered several countries in the world since 1942.
- The bullet that was extracted from the body of Pope John Paul II was offered to Fatima as a symbol of persecution against the Catholic Church.
- The first church dedicated to the cult of Nossa Senhora de Fátima built outside Fátima was the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima in São Paulo in Brazil.
- The Vehicle Blessing is held on Sundays and holy days at 12:45 pm and at 5:00 pm in a car park located behind the Livraria do Santuário.
- The Blessing of Religious Objects is held daily at the end of the official mass at the Sanctuary of Fátima.
- The Candles Procession takes place on the night of the 12th to the 13th of May each year and brings together thousands of people every year.
Quick Facts about Fátima
- 2017, the year of the centenary of the apparitions, was the year with the largest number of visitors, approximately eight million.
- Fátima had the first charter in 1588.
- Fátima has approximately 11600 inhabitants.
- Beatification: beatification means to attribute the status of blessed. It is a step towards someone becoming holy (canonized). The beatification process is usually conducted by the prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints.
- Canonization: it is the decision of the Catholic Church that establishes the cult of veneration for a person who has already died and who starts to call himself a saint.
- Círio: is the name given to Marian pilgrimages. Each parish has a group of candles that take candles to Nossa Senhora de Fátima.
- Host: is the term used for consecrated bread that is donated at the end of each Mass. The most common bread is unleavened bread.
- Immaculate Conception: The Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8 and invokes the life and virtue of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus. the Immaculada da Conceição is a very important religious holiday for Portugal because on March 25, 1646 King Dom João IV (1604-1656) declared that Nossa Senhora da Conceição would be the patron and queen of Portugal in the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição in Vila Viçosa. From this moment on, no king wore a crown.
- Candlelight Procession: the candlelight procession brings together thousands of people every year in the Sanctuary. Each of these people has a lit candle and recites the rosary. After the Mass the Candles Procession begins between Capelinha and the Sanctuary. The procession takes place between May and October.
- Adeus Procession: it is the procession that marks the end of the May 13 celebrations. The procession starts from the altar of the enclosure and ends at Capelinha das Aparições
- Rosa de Ouro: it is one of the biggest distinctions that can be attributed by the Vatican. The Golden Rose has been awarded since Pope Leo IX (1049-1054) in order to distinguish rulers, sanctuaries or cities that have contributed to the Catholic Church. Fátima received three Golden Roses **: one in 1965 awarded by Pope Paul VI in 1965, another by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 and the last by Pope Francis in 2017. The blessing of the Golden Roses is held on Sunday of Joy, in end of Lent.
Sacred Lausperene Lausperene is the continued exposure of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, that is, the sacred host to believers. Lausperene is exposed, in most cases, for approximately forty minutes in honor of the time Jesus Christ spent in the tomb until he was resurrected
- Theophany: Theophany describes a visible manifestation of God, whatever He wants.
- Venerable: is one who has sanctity but has not yet been canonized.
- Seer: is one who observes supernatural phenomena.
Chronology of the events of the Sanctuary of Fátima
- May 13, 1917: First Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima
- June 13, 1917: Second Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima
- July 13, 1917: Third Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima
- August 19, 1917: Fourth Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima
- September 13, 1917: Fifth Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima
- October 13, 1917: Sixth Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima and Miracle of the Sun
- January 17, 1918: the Diocese of Leiria is established
- April 4, 1919: Francisco’s death
- February 20, 1920: death of Jacinta
- April 28 to June 15, 1919: construction of the Capelinha das Aparições
- May 1920: first image of Our Lady of Fatima
- June 17, 1921: Sister Lúcia’s departure for the Asylum of Vilar in Porto
- September 1921: Bishop of Leiria Dom José Alves Correia da Silva visits Cova da Iria
- October 1921: the first mass is celebrated in Capelinha das Aparições
- March 6, 1922: Capelinha das Aparições was dynamited
- October 13, 1923: Voice of Fatima begins to be published
- May 13, 1928: the Basilica of the Apparitions began to be built
- December 1929: Pope Pius XI blessed an image of Our Lady of Fatima that would go to the Portuguese College in Rome
- October 13, 1930: in a Pastoral Letter the Bishop of Leiria confirms the truth of the visions of the Three Little Shepherds and officially allowed the cult of Our Lady of Fátima
- October 31, 1942: Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
- May 13, 1946: Pope Pius XII sent Cardinal Masella to Fatima to crown the statue of Our Lady of Fatima
- May 13, 1946: return of Sister Lúcia to Fátima
- May 13, 1948: Lúcia joined the Order of the Discalced Carmelites in Coimbra
- 1952: Francisco and Jacinta’s canonization began
- 1964: Pope Paul VI declared Our Lady of Fatima as the Mother of the Church and gave the Golden Rose to the Shrine of Fatima
- May 13, 1967: Pope Paul VI made a pilgrimage to Fatima. It was the year that Fatima became the main place to pray for World Peace
- September 19, 1977: Fátima was elevated to the category of village
- 1979: delivery of the canonization of Francisco and Jacinta at the Vatican
- May 13, 1982: Pope John Paul II goes on a pilgrimage to Fatima to thank the divine protection during the attack in 1981 in Rome and to consecrate Men and Peoples to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
- 1984: the Image of Our Lady of Fatima is sent to Rome for Pope John Paul II to renew the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
- 1989: the bullet that hit Pope John Paul II was embedded in the Crown of the Image of Our Lady of Fatima
- May 13, 1991: John Paul II visited Fatima, ten years after the attack he suffered
- 4th of July 1997: Fátima was elevated to the category of city
- 11 to 14 May 2010: Pope Benedict XVI visited Portugal and celebrated Mass in Lisbon, Praça do Comércio before approximately 500 thousand people. During the visit he also traveled to Fátima and Porto
- May 12 and 13, 2017: Pope Francis canonized Francisco and Jacinta