Throughout the year, the Fatima Custodians for the pilgrim statues of Our Lady of Fatima make home visits where they ask those who attend our presentations to write down their prayer petitions to Fatima. These petitions are then personally sent to Fatima.
With this in mind, on July 17, 2007, my fellow Fatima custodian Mr. Michael Shibler and I embarked on a trip laden with petitions gathered from the America Needs Fatima home visits.
However the trip was more than just a mere delivery like that of a postman. It was a true pilgrimage with stops and difficulties along the way. One cannot just visit Fatima alone and leave; one must make one’s way there.
Entering Portugal and Spain, we were immersed in what was once a glorious part of Christian civilization. Thus, during our trip we not only delivered the petitions but kept them in mind throughout all our visits and prayers.
Our arrival was at Lisbon, Portugal where we visited the Monastery of the Jeronimos and the Tower of Belem. The tower overlooks the bay at the edge of Lisbon, and it was impressive to think that it was the last sight of civilization for Portuguese explorers embarking for distant lands.
On the way to Fatima, we traveled the back roads and stopped at the medieval walled city of Obidos where we were fortunate enough to arrive during a beautiful medieval festival. The beautiful clothes, medieval plays and food made us feel like pilgrims from the Middle Ages in this small city that has changed so little since then. Before going to bed, we finished our daily prayers walking along the massive walls that surround the city.
Continuing our journey north, we stopped at Alcobaca, the first Cistercian monastery outside of France. Legend has it that the monastery was made for one thousand monks, but never held more than 999. One room was always being reserved for Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally we arrived at Fatima, one of the most visited Catholic shrines in the world. It is a blessed shrine, and we could not stop thinking of how the Mother of God transmitted her message and solution for our times just feet from where we were standing and praying. Carrying in our petitions, the guards allowed us to leave them as close as possible to the place where Our Lady appeared.
Fatima was not the only place where we had the opportunity to pray. Our pilgrimage later took us to other Marian shrines. We visited Covadonga, a small cave where the great Spanish general, Don Pelayo, with the help of Our Lady, led a small band of Catholics to victory over the conquering Moors.
From Covadonga, we took a bit of the pilgrim’s path to the famous shrine of Santiago de Compostela. As Saint James would have it, we arrived there on July 24, the day before his feast day, a most important Catholic feast in Spain. The city was filled with people and clergy. The festivities which included Solemn Vespers and a fireworks display provided a fitting end to a long pilgrimage where we pray for the intentions of so many America Needs Fatima friends and supporters.