Sanctuary of Fatima

What is the Sanctuary of Fatima?

The Shrine of Fátima, near Cova da Iria, had been an unknown spot in the municipality of Ourém, in the parish of Fátima, until 1917. When three small shepherds, Jacinta, her brother Francisco, and their cousin Lúcia, witnessed multiple apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary that year, a religious event transformed its history and significance forever. The phenomena was first viewed with mistrust by the Church, despite the fact that it was treasured by the people, and it was not recognized by the Bishop of Leiria until 1930. The village's growth accelerated after that, and in 1977, Fátima was granted town status, followed by city status in 1997.

The Shrine's international fame grew under the pontificate of John Paul II, a declared admirer of Our Lady of Fátima who visited the shrine in 1982 to express gratitude for surviving an assassination attempt the year before. On his third visit to the site in 2000, he announced the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco, to whom the Vatican credited a healing miracle.

The initial apparition happened on 13 May, followed by others on the same day every month until October, when the big celebrations in Fátima take place. One of the most important events is the Candle Procession, which takes place on the evening of May 12th, when thousands of candles held by the faithful flood the huge Shrine square, creating a magical sense of communion and religious devotion. It is just as significant as the Farewell Procession on the 13th.

Thousands of pilgrims flock to Fátima every month, notably on the 12th and 13th, guided by their faith. They started off from various locations around the country, many of them walking down rural highways and footpaths. To encourage this mobility, four Fátima Ways – the Tagus Way, the Northern Way, the Nazaré Way, and the Coastal Way – have been marked and may be readily followed by persons with little knowledge of the region using the markers on the ground.

As you approach the Prayer Area, you will notice the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima, with its 65-meter-tall tower, on one end. The Monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus lies in the center, with the Chapel of Apparitions on one side, exactly where Our Lady instructed the tiny shepherds to erect a chapel.

On the other end, the Most Holy Trinity Church – Lesser Basilica, which opened in 2007, is a contemporary piece of architecture with no intermediary supports and a capacity of around 8,700 people. The design was created by Greek architect Alexandros Tombazis, with input from various artists like the Portuguese lvaro Siza Vieira and Pedro Calapez. Outside, there is a bronze Tall Cross by German Robert Schad.

His Holiness Pope Francisco joined the religious events on May 12 and 13, 2017, commemorating the centennial of the apparitions.

In addition to the Shrine, the Museum of Sacred Art and Ethnology, the Wax Museum, the 1917 Fátima Museum, and the Animated Nativity Scene and Village of Bethlehem are also nearby.