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Learning to be Pilgrims

Updated: Jul 8

Fr. Matthew and our novices arrived to Fatima today. The pilgrimage started with the Holy Mass celebrated at the place of the Eucharistic miracle from 13th century in the Sanctuary of the Eucharistic Miracle of Santarém.


They are staying at the Blue Army’s retreat center “Domus Pacis” right next to the main shrine in Fatima. Thus, the pilgrimage has began with a strong Eucharistic accent, reechoing Angel’s apparition to the shepherds which preceded Our Lady’s message. The Angel taught the children how to pray upon receiving Holy Communion.


Most importantly they learn how to be Pilgrims, not just tourists and see how God works in their lives.“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee! I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee”




A beautiful first full day in Fatima. Fr. Andrew celebrated Mass for the group with Fr. Matthew at St. Anthony's parish which is where the three shepherd children were baptized. They visited their houses and the place where the Angel of Peace appeared the second and third time and took a tour of the shrine. Br. Nathaniel gave a reflection on Signs, wonders, and Faith. 


At the night procession, Fr. Andrew led a decade of the Holy rosary in Spanish and Br. Gabriel led one in English in the Chapel of Apparitions. 


The night procession impressed our pilgrims the most. Though there are hundreds of us we share one Faith, one baptism, one Lord. We walk by the light of faith, we received at baptism, in the night of life. We hold a candle reminiscent of our baptismal candles. We follow the cross in the company of Our Lady. The religious lead the way because a vocation to consecrated life is a fruit of baptismal grace and as JP2 said, consecrated life is the reference point for all the baptized (Orientale Lumen). Consecrated Life also ontologically shares in the role of Mary in the Church.




The group began the day by celebrating the Feast of St. Elizabeth of Portugal, a unique privilege for the pilgrims. Mass was closed by singing "America the Beautiful" to commemorate Independence Day. Although we are abroad, we're taking advantage of the opportunity to pray for our country while in such an important Marian Site.


The group first visited the 12th century Cistercian Monastery of Alcobaca. The Canons Regular had many opportunities to imagine life as Medieval contemplative there.


Next, they traveled to the picturesque coastal town of Nazarene where we visited the town's Church overlooking the coast and then spent the afternoon enjoying the coast and sampling some of Portugal's renowned fish and seafood. 


The day closed at where the group toured a famous Gothic convent at Batahla named Our Lady of Victory, which also featured Portugal's tomb of the unknown soldier monument. 




On this First Friday our pilgrims started the day by having Mass at the Chapel of the Apparitions, celebrated by Fr. Andrew and featuring the Canons Regular “Junior” Schola. Then after Mass they prayed the stations of the cross as a group which was about 3 miles round trip. The afternoon was free to enjoy until the First Friday Holy Hour before dinner. Lastly, they were blessed once again to join in the popular night rosary and procession with Catholics all over the world. 




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