Before going any further, I would just like to admit up front that I am a bit biased with any news events related to Portugal since my husband’s family is from there. Even so, when I heard that the pope arrived there today to visit the country “as a pilgrim to Our Lady of Fatima,” it made me smile.
This past year, I visited my husband’s family in Portugal for the first time and one of highlights of the trip was our own pilgrimage to Fatima. We arrived at the site of the apparitions of Mary to the three shepherd children just as Mass was ending and were able to pray with other pilgrims outdoors under the bright blue sky. Knowing that hundreds of thousands of people visit Fatima to pray, to ask for miracles, to hope for healing, just like us, was beautiful.
When the pope arrived in Portugal, one of the things he said about Fatima was that “Heaven itself was opened over Portugal – like a window of hope that God opens when man closes the door to him.” It’s a beautiful idea. I find the stories of Marian apparitions at Fatima and in Mexico with Our Lady of Guadalupe awe-inspiring and feel they show that the same kind of miracles that occurred in earlier times still occur today.
I recently rented a DVD of the newly released movie “The 13th Day” which is about the Fatima story. The movie was released by 13th Day Films and includes a short commentary by one of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. If you aren’t familiar with the Fatima story, I’d highly recommend checking it out.