2017 marks the centennial anniversary of The Apparitions of Our Lady and visiting Fátima is a life-changing and fulfilling experience for Religious teachers, students and all those of the Catholic fate and Christian beliefs.
Read how we can bring you and your students to the world's most sacred Marian site, and how you can celebrate Fátima's 100 years with Prometour.
The Virgin Mary's first appearance...
Francisco and Jacinta Marto; and Lúcia dos Santos were the three shepherd children who experienced the apparitions of the Virgin Mary while working the farm fields. The day was May 13th, 1917 when the children's first vision of the Virgin Mary occurred after lightning struck and the children began to flee in order to escape the rain. However, while turning back and passing a large oak tree; a beautiful woman composed of light and holding a rosary stood before them. Introducing herself as the Virgin Mary from the Heavens; she advised the children that she would continue making an appearance to them every 13th of the month for the next five months.
On the last month of her apparitions, October 13th, the townspeople came to truly believe that the Virgin Mary had confided the shepherd children and made an appearance. Supposedly, the sun had danced that afternoon in May above the small Portuguese town; spinning and dancing so much so as if it was approaching closer to fall upon them. May 13th has now forever been referred to as the Miracle of the Sun.
The Three Secrets of Fátima
One of the fundamental elements of Fátima that are made this event in history so popular are the secrets which she spoke to the shepherd children. The secrets which were soon to be discovered as prophecies of the world were told to Francisco, Jacinta and Lúcia.
The first secret was a vision of Hell which Lúcia describes in her memoirs as an ocean of fire below the Earth swarming with demons and evil spirits of sinners. The second secret revealed was that the First World War would come to an end but if the world continued down the same path, another war would emerge and be much worse than its first. The third secret which was later revealed in 2000 was supposedly about the attempted assassination of Pope Jean Paul the XII - however, this continues to be discussed and controversial as there is some information missing from what was revealed.
Celebrating Fátima today
Celebrations for Fátima occurs during this five-month period where May and October are it's peak seasons for Catholics and believers to make their pilgrimage way towards the site. Cova da Iria is a popular spot for many pilgrims to visit, pray, reminisce and feel an overwhelming amount of emotions. It is on this field owned by Lucia's parents during the time, where the Virgin Mary had first appeared and made many of her visits to the children. The Chapel of Apparitions and the village of Aljustrel are where some of the other the apparitions took place in 1917. You can follow the stations of the cross along the via sacra which end at the Calvary Chapel.