Tomar, Fatima & Sintra | Portugal
It is hard to believe it has been 26 days on the road. Time has flown by. Today we are visiting more spectacular sites in Portugal as we head to Sintra for our final days.
We take a short ride on the bus from the hotel to the Church of Santa Maria dos Olivais. The church is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Tomar. The provincial master, Gualdim Pais, of the Order of the Knights Templar, built the church in the second half of the 12th century. It was used as a burial place for the Knights Templar of Tomar and, later, by the Knights of the Order of Christ. Gualdim Pais is buried in the church, and his original tomb slab, dated from 1195 and bearing a gothic inscription, is still preserved.
The current building is the reconstruction from the 13th century in Gothic style, and adjacent is a free-standing bell tower. The interior is very simple. The statue of the Virgin Mary and Child (early 16th century) adorn the main altar. John begins our day with a beautiful sharing and moves us into spiritual exercises.
Our next stop is Fatima. The story is that this is the area The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, appeared six times to three shepherd children, “The Three Seers,” near the town of Fatima, Portugal between May 13 and October 13, 1917. The Blessed Virgin told them that She had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman, and child living in our century at a time when civilization was torn apart by war and violence. She promised that Heaven would grant peace to all the world if Her requests for prayer, reparation and consecration were obeyed.
Our Lady of Fatima explained to the children that war is a punishment for sin and warned that God would further castigate the world for its disobedience to His Will by means of war, hunger and the persecution of the Church. God’s Mother prophesied that Russia would be God’s chosen “instrument of chastisement,” spreading the “errors” of atheism and materialism across the earth, fomenting wars, annihilating nations and persecuting the Faithful everywhere. It was emphasized the necessity of praying the Rosary daily, of wearing the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel and of performing acts of reparation and sacrifice.
The heart of Our Lady’s Message to the world is contained in what has come to be called the “Secret” which She confided to the three child seers in July 1917. The Secret actually consists of three parts, the first two have been publicly revealed. The first part of the Secret was a horrifying Vision of hell “where the souls of poor sinners go” and contained an urgent plea from Our Lady for acts of prayer and sacrifice to save souls. The second part of the Secret prophesied the outbreak of World War II and contained the Mother of God’s solemn request for the Consecration of Russia as a condition for world peace.
The third part of the Secret has not yet been made public, but was written down by Lucy Dos Santos, the last living Fatima seer, in 1944. It is in the possession of the Holy See since 1957. Some sources speculate that this portion of the Secret concerns chaos in the Catholic Church, predicting widespread apostasy and a loss of faith beginning in the seventh decade of the 20th Century.
Since the early 20th century, Fátima has been associated with events in which three local children, Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, saw visions of a woman known as Our Lady of Fátima, since believed to be the Virgin Mary. May 13, 1917, the children first saw an apparition of a “lady dressed in white” and shining with a bright light. The local bishop investigated the events and determined that the apparitions were worthy of belief. The site was marked by a cross erected by locals. In 1918 a small chapel was built from rock and limestone and covered in tile. In 1930, the statue of Our Lady in the Chapel of Apparitions was crowned by the Vatican.
The Sanctuary of Fátima also known as Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima is a large area of Catholic religious buildings and structures. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary and the monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus stand out prominently upon one’s arrival in the stadium size arena as one takes in their view of this extravagant area.
The Chapel of the Apparitions and monuments were built to commemorate the events associated with the events in 1916, such as the Retreat House of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Retreat of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and a segment of the Berlin Wall marking the consecration of Russia to the Sacred Heart of Christ. Monuments to Fathers Formigão and Fischer, a High Cross and individual monuments to Pope Paul VI, Pope Pius XII, Pope John Paul II and D. José Alves Correia da Silva (who had important roles in the history of the site) and the Pastoral Centre of Paul VI mark the area as well.
Across from the main sanctuary is the largest church I have ever seen, the Basilica of the Holy Trinity which was constructed after 1953, to host large-scale pilgrimages and religious services.
Outside the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, the group stops in front of the church doors named the Doors of Mercy and John takes us into a beautiful sharing and blessing.
What an amazing touring day and now we board the bus onto the beautiful Penha Longa Resort to engage in a wonderful group dinner to celebrate and prepare for our next days of touring and Sharing with John Morton.
Love & Light Julie
Videos by Julie Lurie
Touring Photos by David Sand
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