Overwhelming and Busy Day in Fatima
Fatima Travel Blog› entry 3 of 9 › view all entries
We arrived in Lisbon on Day 2, Wednesday, May 12th at about noon (instead of 6 am, like we were supposed to). We found our tour guide quickly. She was friendly, but I could tell she was a bit overwhelmed. The fact our flight was delayed in arriving through her for a loop and we had lost some precious sight-seeing time. She had to make some changes in order to ensure we would see as much as possible (of what she thought was most important for us to see). Because of the delay in our arrival, the tour guide informed us we would not be stopping at our hotel first. Instead of letting everyone take a quick break and freshen up, she wanted to take us into Fatima so we could make it in time to see one of the important churches and also to have dinner in time.
As you can imagine, many people on the tour were upset and I completely understand why, though I was willing to forge ahead. Some people wanted to have the option to just relax in their room since it had been over 24 hours since they’d had a chance to change clothes, etc.
So upset or not, she urged us to keep moving forward. The other down was that the hotel we were staying in was actually far, in a town called Alcobaca. This was about 45 minutes from the actual town of Fatima. Because all the main activities were taking place in Fatima, another hotel was hosting us for dinner and was allowing us to have drinks at their bar and relax in their lobby.
On our way to Fatima, we stopped at Iglesia del Milagro. This church was very old. It looked like it was built centuries ago. There was a mass in process and we sat in for a little bit. The town we walked through to get to this church was pretty. It looked very European. I enjoyed walking through the cobblestone streets and seeing all the balconies with flower pots hanging out of the windows. The walk was pleasant. The weather was cool, but not too cold. It was a welcomed walk after having been in on airplane for so long.
We then went to a shopping mall for quick lunch break. We had thirty minutes to grab a quick bite. I had a sandwich and some fries.
After the quick break for lunch, we went to the Plaza Hotel in Fatima, which was hosting us while we visited the church and shrine in Fatima and attended a Candlelight Procession. Across the street, there was a great shoe store. I walked over and purchased the pretties summer sandals. Carol and Margaret also went over and bought shoes and a purse.
After shopping, we had a buffet dinner. The dinner was delicious. We had chicken, an assortment of salads, bread, rice pudding, and other good food. We ate till our bellies were full. They also had wine at each table. Everything was very good. Though I know people were upset we had not been able to go back to our own hotel, I was happy with our host hotel and thought they did a good job catering to us.
After dinner, several of us walked over to the Candlelight Procession. The procession took place in the plaza outside the shrine in Fatima.
The shrine there exists because on May 13, 1917, three children were pasturing their flock in the Cova da Iria, Parish of Fatima, when these three children experienced the apparitions. The children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta prayed their rosary, and then went to where the Basilica now stands and they saw a brilliant light. At first they thought it was lightning. Then they say a lady “more brilliant than the sun”. The lady had a rosary in her hands. She told the three children to continue praying and invited them to return to the Cova da Iria again. The children returned and each time they experienced the apparition. The lady eventually told the children that a chapel should be built in that spot.
There were so many people. It was certainly chaotic. There were people everywhere you looked. Everyone had candles. My mom and I purchased some candles to join in the candlelight procession. As we were walking with Carol, Father, Norm, Mary, and Maria Theresa (another nice lady on our tour, but not from our Parish) it started raining really hard. I was all wet and yucky by the time I was done with the Candlelight Procession. We really didn’t get to walk as part of the procession, because there were just so many people that we couldn’t join in. It was hard to participate, so we sort of just stood on the sidelines and just watched everyone that was able to walk.
It was actually a bizarre feeling. I don’t know why but part of me thought, “Wow, there are a ton of Catholics”. Then I started thinking, “wow… this is big! There were just so many people; it was hard to believe we were amidst all of these believers.” Then I somehow started thinking about how Hitler had the ability to make all these people believe in his mission – to rid the world of all Jews. Obviously this is not the same thing, but at one point, I asked myself, “Wow, how does something so great start?” How does someone make a believer out of so many people? It was so great seeing the power of believing. Everyone was really there because they felt a passion and strong belief for God. It was interesting.
I do have a very strong belief in my faith and absolutely believe in God, I just always find it so hard to believe that miracles happen.
The Church we were in front of was beautiful. With the moonlight, it looked almost majestic. It was shining in the night. I wanted to go inside but knew this would be impossible with the mass of people there. Outside, it was already set up, as the Pope would be giving mass there the following day. Father Simmons from our Parish was going to participate in the mass with him, and he was very excited.
After the Candlelight Procession, we made our back to the Plaza Hotel, where we met up with the others in our group. After having some coffee and venting with the group and listening to some explain they were tired and did not think it was fair that they were not able to go to their hotel rooms, we all settled in on the bus.
The bed was so comfortable. The hotel was great. It was beautiful inside. We were staying in a Resort and Spa, though it’s unfortunate we did not get to experience any facial or massages while there.
We had only a few hours to sleep, as we all planned on waking early to take the first bus into Fatima to attend the Pope’s Mass.
The bed was very comfortable and I slept like a baby.