Monday, 13 May 2013

Fatima, May 13th - all Catholic life is here!

Just less than two hours ago, the 96th Anniversary Mass of the appearance of Our Lady to three young peasant children, drew to a close.

The peace of Fatima
I do not know how many thousand or hundreds of thousands filled The Sanctuary at the site where the original holm oak grew that formed the platform for Our Lady to alight upon, but it was many.

The came by road, sea and air and many walked from their villages in the North of Portugal.

The world of the Faith was present; the devout and the brash, the clinically obese and the anorexically thin, the tattooed and the unblemished, those who showed reverence and those on their mobile phones, the rich and the poor; clowns and academics, they all gathered in Fatima today to bear witness to the apparitions of Our Lady that began in 1917 (just as Portugal was on the brink of falling into Communist ideology).

There were even one or two orthodox Catholics present.

It began with the Rosary at 10am moving on to a sung new order Missa de Angelis (but still pretty reverent apart from the periodic hand clapping).

At some stage, the act of consecration of the Papacy of Pope Francis to the Immaculate Heart of Mary took place, but we were on the fringe of the crowd some 800 plus metres away and it was difficult to follow proceedings.
 And little could be seen of the Mass, or understood as it was all in Portuguese.

The various Portuguese brands of police and gendarmes strutted their stuff and there was a plentiful force of paramedics on hand to offer succour to those who succumbed to heatstroke, or worse.

At 11.30am. just before the Sanctus, the sky above the Basilica was filled with glinting stars, much to the excitement of the crowd (and me).

For five minutes these 'angel's wings' hovered over the Sanctuary until it became clear that they were silver paper shapes, dropped at some invisible height by a helicopter.

My bloggers scoop of the year vanished as fast as the paper shapes.

Not a dancing sun but a 13th May 2013 Fatima sun
And now, after a swift lunch, we return to the Shrine shortly to lay flowers at the feet of Our Mother.

To be followed, in the mid afternoon heat, by a spot of Egyptian PT, Deo volente.


  1. Beautiful!

    But what is Egyptian PT? Cutting off someone's head?

  2. Mack...Egyptian PT equals forty winks ie a short sleep.

  3. Thanks for keeping us updated on your adventures.

  4. Mack, PT is, of course, Physical Training.

    Thanks Patricius.

  5. I can't imagine going here. It must be wonderful.

  6. But how is sleep and / or exercise Egyptian? Has someone been out in the Portuguese sun without a hat, hmmmmmmmmmmm?

    Your narrative and the pictures are wonderful.

    1. I remember reading that the Egyptians would take a break partway through the day for a nap, pretty much universally throughout the kingdom...I think it is comparable to the Mexican "siesta" if you are familiar with that...

      or were you being sarcastic? :-P

  7. Dear Nick,

    Not on this occasion!

    Here in East Texas in the days before air-conditioning everyone suffered from six months of gasping, soul-sucking heat and humidity, and those who labored in the sun especially so. A midday nap in the shade by farmers and others was a necessity of life. Never heard it called anything but a nap in the shade, though.

  8. Mack & Nick - yes, it is sarcasm, with regard to a perceived 'laziness' on the part of the Egyptians. Not very politically correct, which is why I like the phrase. God bless.