In Portugal to visit Fatima: Faith, history and culture
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - October 2, 2019 - 12:00am

FATIMA, Portugal – We have arrived in this quite far (from the capital city of Lisbon where we landed yesterday) smaller city of Fatima, in the Central Region, particularly in the municipality of Quoren, in the province of Beira Litoral. We are staying here in the elegant Hotel Estrela de Fatima along calle R. Conego Manuel Nuñez Formigao, just a walking distance from the Sanctuary of our Lady of Fatima. We are walking along the same area where in 1916, the child shepherd Lucia Santos, and her two cousins Francisco and Jacinta de Manto, witnessed the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

From the amazing city of Lisbon, our pilgrimage driver and guide, Bruno, brought us to the historic Tagus River, and then we stopped by the popular Marquez de Pombal Square, and the tourists' favorite Liberdade Avenue, where we had some nice local delicacies and drinks. Then, we proceeded to Belem Tower, the icon of the Age of Discoveries. Then we took pictures in front of the famed Monument of the Discoveries. We then proceeded to the ancient Jeronimos Monastery which was just close by. This breathtaking edifice is a magnificent illustration of the Manueline style, which used to be the most impressive symbol of Portugal's power and wealth during the Age of Discoveries. Then we ended our pre-Fatima trip in the awesome Santo Antonio de Padua Church where St. Anthony of Padua was actually born.

The highest point of this pilgrimage in Portugal was, of course, the visit to Fatima. After breakfast, we proceeded to Santarem and entered the St. Stephen Church. We actually saw the venerated relic of the Bleeding Host. We had a half-day walking tour in the heart of Fatima, where our Lady of Rosary appeared to the three little shepherds. We went to Aljustrel to see their homes and went to Valinhos where Our Lady as well as the angel appeared to the three cousins. We went to the sanctuary and saw the white basilica where the Blessed Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta were buried. We ended the day by joining the candlelight procession in the evening.

Our trip is a pilgrimage to strengthen our faith, and also to tie up most of our disconnected knowledge of history, to understand more the role of Europe in the history of our country and people. Also, this travel enriches our knowledge in culture, in the ways different peoples live across geographic, social, political, and economic boundaries. This is also a working trip. I am working for a friend who appointed me executor of his last will and testament. Here in Portugal are some of the assets that Abdul owns. He wants me to inventory all his assets and distribute them to his four wives and 17 children.

This European sojourn which started in Lisbon, Portugal, will cover 21 countries in 30 days. A lot of walking and sightseeing, visits to museums, castles, cathedrals, palaces, religious sites, and historical landmarks. I would recommend this trip to you. Traveling is a very awesome and fascinating part of our journey through life.

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