More than 150 pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Armagh are currently undertaking a pilgrimage to Fatima to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal. Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, is leading the pilgrimage, joined by priests and religious of the archdiocese.
The 150 pilgrims, which includes 20 youth pilgrims along with leaders from the Armagh Diocesan Youth Commission, departed from Dublin Airport yesterday 10 August and will return on Thursday 17 August. The pilgrimage began with Mass in the Capelinha, the chapel built at the site of the first apparition at the request of Our Lady.
This morning, 11 August, Archbishop Martin celebrated Mass at the Fatima Parish Church, where the three Fatima visionaries, Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Sister Lucia, were baptised, and where Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucia in 1918.
As the pilgrimage continues, pilgrims will visit the various sites of the apparitions and receive a guided tour of the Sanctuary of Fatima. Pilgrims will also partake in the Hungarian Stations of the Cross which follows the path of the three little shepherds in 1917.
On Sunday 13 August, pilgrims will partake in the ‘Ceremonies of the 13th’, which marks the dates of the apparitions. The ceremonies commence at 9.00am with the recitation of the Rosary at the Capelinha followed by the Liturgical Procession carrying the statue wearing its papal crown from the Capelinha to the Altar in front of the Basilica for the International Concelebrated Mass. The Mass concludes with the Solemn Blessing of the Sick and finally the Adeus, or Farewell Procession, in which the statue of Our Lady is returned to its pedestal in the Capelinha through a sea of waving white handkerchiefs.
During the week, pilgrims will travel to Lisbon to visit Saint Anthony’s Church, built at the site where Saint Anthony was born. Pilgrims will also travel to Coimbra to visit the Carmelite convent where Sister Lucia lived and the nearby museum dedicated to her life.
At 3.30pm on Thursday 17 August, the final day of the pilgrimage, Archbishop Eamon Martin will celebrate Mass in the Capelinha.
In 1917, between 13 May and 13 October, three shepherd children, Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, reported visions of the Virgin Mary. Pope Francis visited Fatima in May during which the Holy Father canonised the young shepherds Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Each year close to five million pilgrims visit Fatima’s Marian Shrine, including many from Ireland.