Today was one of the most anticipated days of the trip, one where we boarded the bus and headed off to Tomar and Fátima! On the way Fr. Jim helped us prepare for our spiritual journey.
First-up was the Convent of Christ Church in Tomar. This 12th-century site served as a fortress for the Knights of Templar and features eight cloisters, which were built between the 15th and 16th centuries. There are many types of architecture throughout the grounds, since every time new areas were added the design changed.
Next, our journey took us to Fátima to tour the famed Catholic site where the Virgin Mary appeared six times to three shepherd children. 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the Marion apparitions and the site was abuzz with pilgrims from all areas of the globe. We had the opportunity to explore the Sancturary of Our Lady of Fátima and present our intentions as we well as learn about the Three Secrets of Fátima.
The first secret was a vision of Hell disclosed to the children on July 13, 1917. The second secret was a statement that World War I would end, along with a prediction of another war during the reign of Pope Pius XI, should men continue offending God and should Russia not convert. The second half of this secret requests that Russia be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The third and final secret was not revealed until the year 2000 since at the time the children received the secret they were asked by Mary not to reveal it so it was written down for later revelation. This secret dealt with the prediction of the attempted assassination of John Paul II. He credits Our Lady will saving his life and the bullet pulled from his chest is in the crown of the Virgin Mary Statue at Fatima.
We also drove by the Houses of Jacinto after leaving Fátima. The bus ride home was quiet while travelers contemplated what they had seen today and dinner was on our own in Lisbon.